The KC Royals, their status as MLB trade deadline sellers secured long ago, made their mark on the previously and eerily quiet deal period late Wednesday night. That’s when they announced, shortly after the team landed in New York for a four-game series with the Yankees, that they’d traded All-Star Gold Glove left fielder Andrew Benintendi to their weekend hosts.
It was the quintessential midsummer deal—a team without even a fantasy of making a stretch run moved a major player to a contender for some prospects.
Since then, the baseball world hasn’t heard a peep from Kansas City, and only Friday night’s trade that sent Luis Castillo from Cincinnati to Seattle, and a smattering of less seismic transactions, have made much news.
Don’t be fooled, though. It’s the calm before the storm, an all-but-dead period of relative inaction before a whirlwind trade frenzy begins, probably today, and ends when the deadline expires at 5 p.m. CDT Tuesday.
So, while baseball anxiously waits to see if the Nationals move Juan Soto, the Angels part ways with Shohei Ohtani (yes, there’s a lot of chatter about a possible move), or the Red Sox unload some stars, Kansas City fans are left wondering what their Royals might or might not do.
What are the latest rumors? In KC’s case, there isn’t much buzz aside from social media hypotheticals.
But there are actual, reported possibilities.
Will the KC Royals deal Michael A. Taylor with a year left on his contract?
The Royals thought so much of center fielder Michael A. Taylor that even before his one-year free agent deal—and last season—had even ended, they kept him in the fold last September with a two-year contract running through next season. It made sense—Taylor was in the process of winning his first Gold Glove and, despite his wanting bat, had solved the center field defensive puzzle Lorenzo Cain created when he left for Milwaukee after the 2017 season.
Taylor remains a lineup fixture. His glove is decent and he’s slashing a surprising .278/.348/.394, which explains why his name circulates as a potential trade target, most recently Saturday evening when MLB Network Insider and mlb.com writer Mark Feinsand reported Atlanta’s apparent interest:
Taylor could bring some stability to the current Braves’ outfield, which is a bit shaky. And the price is probably right, especially if Atlanta wants him next season—he’s set to make only $4.5 million (with some possible incentive pay) in 2023.
KC Royals star Whit Merrifield could be headed for the National League.
We recently wrote that it’s time for Kansas City to trade Whit Merrifield, a notion that predated news that he couldn’t join his teammates for a pre-All-Star Break series in Toronto because he wasn’t vaccinated. Since then, reasons why he won’t be traded seem to outweigh arguments for why he will, at least on baseball-related social media accounts.
Vaccination status, though, didn’t stop the Yankees from acquiring Benintendi, Merrifield’s then-teammate who also didn’t meet Canada’s strict entry requirements. If they can find a suitable trade partner—in other words, one willing to give up the load Kansas City will want in return—expect the Royals to move Merrifield despite his disappointing .240/.291/.346 line.
The Dodgers, a National League team that wouldn’t have to concern itself with any travel limitations Merrifield may still have unless they and the Blue Jays end up in the World Series, may, per the New York Post’s Jon Heyman, be interested. Los Angeles already teems with talent, but may view Merrifield as the kind of versatile sparkplug the Royals snared when they acquired Ben Zobrist in a key 2015 trade deadline deal.
Are any other KC Royals being tied to specific MLB trade deadline rumors?
Trade rumors connect specific players to specific clubs; media and fan hypotheticals pose trade ideas, but often don’t rely for their substance on reported interest teams have in the players involved.
Such seems to be the case for a KC reliever whose name pops up often in hypotheticals, but not in reports of verified team interest. Scott Barlow should be a prime trade candidate, and writers and fans mention him in that vein, but at this writing reports of specific interest in him are hard to find.
It’s possible, of course, that Kansas City has finished its work for this trade cycle and won’t make any moves until this winter. Taylor, Merrifield and Barlow are all under team control for next season, so they’ll be back if not dealt. And the Royals will probably be fine with that.
Will the Royals do any more deals? We’ll know by 5 p.m. CDT Tuesday.