Who knows what the KC Royals’ active roster will look like at the end of July?
The annual trade deadline is Aug. 2 this season, but expect the club’s complexion to change in July, leaving to anyone’s guess who’ll be on the 26-man roster come August and what impact personnel moves will have on Kansas City’s record.
Unless the Royals postpone the inevitable until the last minute, left fielder Andrew Benintendi, their best and most reliable bat, will be gone sometime this month. Because this is his final season playing under club control and he’ll be too expensive for KC to sign as a free agent, the Royals will deal him to the first team whose return of prospects strikes Dayton Moore’s fancy. (J.J. Picollo may be the general manager, but Moore is his boss and remains highly visible in personnel matters).
Likely gone, too, is Greinke, unless the reasons he came back to Kansas City last March compel him to seek another year with the Royals. The two games he’s convincingly won since coming off the IL suggest he’s in fine form again and, if he continues pitching well and the club decides it can’t or won’t sign him for 2023, some contender will be delighted to have him for the stretch run.
Also sure to spur serious trade interest are Scott Barlow, whose 2-1, 2.14 ERA and 10 saves will attract contenders looking for a rock-solid closer or setup man, and Gold Glove center fielder Michael A. Taylor, who’s headed for his best year at the plate with a .276/.354/.408 line.
And Kansas City might just buck its tradition of keeping Whit Merrifield and trade him while he still has some value.
The Royals could, of course, surprise everyone by standing mostly pat. That’s unlikely to happen, however, so it’s hard to say who’ll still be a Royal when July turns to August.
Until it’s over, the Royals’ July may remain a mystery.