4 former KC Royals who’ve disappointed this season

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KC Royals
(Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports) /

A former KC Royals star shortstop isn’t having a good season in Washington.

Over an eight-season span during which the Royals went from bad to best, then back to bad again, Alcides Escobar was a fixture at shortstop, an energetic player whose stellar defense and adequate bat helped the club recover from too many dreadful seasons to win two straight American league pennants and a World Series title.

And it was Escobar who was among four key players who decided to test free agency when Kansas City failed in 2017 to qualify for the postseason and suffered its first losing record since 2012.

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Eric Hosmer (San Diego) and Lorenzo Cain (Milwaukee) landed the lucrative deals Mike Moustakas and Escobar didn’t find; both returned to the Royals for 2018.

Moustakas was gone via a midseason trade to the Brewers, but Escobar stayed, then went back on the market in the offseason. He signed with Baltimore, didn’t make it out of spring training, and soon signed with the White Sox, who kept him in the minors until releasing him in August.

Escobar came back to the Royals on a 2021 minor league contract and played well at Triple-A Omaha (.274 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 35 games) until the club sold him to Washington in early July. He flourished with the Nationals, hitting .288 with a .340 OBP in 75 games.

This season, however, is different. Escobar has played in only half of Washington’s 70 games and his dismal .220/.264/.288 line could foretell a DFA when he’s finished recovering from a hamstring injury that’s kept him on the Injured List since June 1. Currently on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Rochester, he’s hitting .231 in 13 games.