Tampa Bay may be a good Michael A. Taylor trade partner for the KC Royals.
Tampa Bay, like the Red Sox, trails New York by a large margin in the AL East. But last year’s American League champion still has reasons to be optimistic heading into the second half of the season.
The Rays are 40-32 and holding onto a Wild Card spot by two games. Despite their success, their outfield has been a different story this season. Long-time center fielder Kevin Kiermaier is on the IL and slashing only .229/.270/.380, and former Royal Brett Phillips has an OPS of just .497. As a group, Tampa’s outfielders are slashing a measly .239/.292/.366.
So, perhaps this trade could work for them and the Royals?
To upgrade their outfield with Taylor, the Rays deal Bitsko and Shenton, their 16th and 19th best prospects per MLB Pipeline, to Kansas City.
Shenton, originally drafted by the Mariners, was acquired by Tampa Bay last year when the Rays traded away reliever Diego Castillo, is slashing .236/.338/.415 in Double-A and owns a career .877 OPS in 185 minor league games. Bitsko, only 20, was Tampa Bay’s first-round pick in the 2020 amateur draft but missed the 2021 season. MLB Pipeline says he has “now” stuff and a fastball, curve, changeup and slider. He’s made three starts this year and is 0-1 with a 10.13 ERA.
Michael A. Taylor could bring a good return for the Royals in a trade deadline deal.