Fewer than a handful of days remain before June arrives and moves the KC Royals into the third month of the season. That’s early for most major league teams hoping to find their way to the playoffs.
Include Kansas City among those clubs. But not for this year. Trapped by their own dismal play in yet another disappointing campaign, it’s early for the Royals only because their realistic playoff hopes are for 2023 at the earliest.
That makes the Royals sellers if they choose to join the Aug. 2 trade deadline frenzy. Kansas City trading is no guarantee—this is an unpredictable club known to deal when they shouldn’t and stand pat when trades must be made.
Expect these Royals to make moves, however. They don’t have much, if any, choice. Carlos Santana must go—he’s in his contract year, he’s played badly all season, and either Vinnie Pasquantino or Nick Pratto deserve the first base job.
Santana could, of course, be gone before the deal deadline, and isn’t the only Royal the team should discard. For example, Ryan O’Hearn’s decent pinch-hitting doesn’t alone justify his continuing presence. And although it’s unlikely (demotion to Triple-A Omaha is a more likely alternative), Nicky Lopez might be moved.
Who else might KC put on the deadline market?
Trading their left fielder seems increasingly likely for the KC Royals.
Andrew Benintendi is the club’s best trade candidate and the idea of dealing him away is nothing new. We advanced that notion recently and nothing has changed. He’s hitting .323 with a .396 OBP and will be a free agent after the season. Conventional wisdom dictates a trade.