A Michael A. Taylor trade might just trigger a needed KC Royals rebuild.
When evaluating Kansas City’s 2022 season, something mlb.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reported Dayton Moore saying after the 2018 campaign comes to mind:
"“When you say ‘rebuild,’ it creates the mindset or it builds in that it’s OK to lose ballgames. Major League players are paid to win baseball games. … I feel better going into the 2019 season. One of the things that changed is we stopped talking about the rebuild. It’s not OK to accept losing. You have to transition to compete and then transition to winning.”"
But more than three years later, the team hasn’t transitioned to competing. Or winning. Is it time to finally admit the Royals need to actually rebuild? Absolutely.
That doesn’t mean the roster needs a traditional rebuild—a full tear-down isn’t required. Key pieces like Bobby Witt Jr., MJ Melendez, Daniel Lynch, and Brady Singer should be in KC to stay; the young core of this team is in place and starting to bloom.
Instead, a rebuild should focus on supplementing that young core, even if it means doing so with players that aren’t major league-ready. From 2016 through 2019, the front office seemed set on acquiring big league-ready talent that could contribute immediately, an approach that didn’t bear fruit.
The Royals won’t win this year, and maybe not next year. But as long as they begin getting talent that can improve the roster by 2024, they can turn things around.
It’s fine to call the process a small rebuild. And it can begin with trading Taylor.