If asked, most KC Royals fans probably believe the team’s biggest trade chip is left fielder Andrew Benintendi, who’s having an excellent season. But there’s another Kansas City outfielder who could challenge Benintendi for most coveted Royal as the August 2 trade deadline gets closer.
Michael A. Taylor.
Michael A. Taylor stands to be the KC Royals’ biggest trade chip this summer.
Like Benintendi, Taylor has seen a massive turnaround at the plate this year. He’s slashing .274/.347/.405 going into tonight’s home series opener with Texas, and his batting average and OBP are on pace to be career highs for the veteran center fielder. His six defensive runs saved currently leads the Royals and ranks sixth among all major league outfielders, despite the fact he’s missed a chunk of the season.
Unlike Benintendi, however, Taylor probably won’t be just a rental for any team acquiring him. He’s affordably under contract for 2023 at just a minimum $4.5 million salary. So when Benintendi hits the open market as a free agent or cashes in on what should be a sizeable contract extension after this season, Taylor will likely remain under team control at good value.
Even if Taylor’s renaissance at the plate proves to be short-lived, he’ll remain a defensively elite center fielder. His major change in approach at the plate—a 10.2% BB% in 2022 vs. 6.3% in 2021—instills confidence that his new production at the plate may be here to stay.
What return might Kansas City expect in a Taylor trade?