My Dad owns a pretty popular baseball video game and plays it on a consistent basis. The game lets him acquire just about any past or present players and add them to his lineup. Imagine fielding a virtual KC Royals club with the best players they’ve ever had … or a host of Hall of Famers.
Or, along those same video game lines, how about Juan Soto? After all, if my Dad can have Mickey Mantle in his lineup whenever he wants, why can’t we imagine Soto as a Royal?
It can’t hurt to dream what the club would be like if, instead of the Nationals trading Soto to San Diego Tuesday, they’d sent him to Kansas City. The Royals probably weren’t considering Soto while trade rumors were swirling around other clubs, and the price they’d have had to pay to get him would have been astronomical. And astronomical isn’t what the Royals do, especially in Soto’s case when he’d reportedly turned down $440 million to remain a National for 14 years.
But let’s go ahead and dream a bit.
What would life be like for the KC Royals if they’d landed Juan Soto?
The trade deadline deals that sent Andrew Benintendi packing to the Yankees and Whit Merrifield to Toronto took two important bats out of Kansas City’s lineup. The likes of Bobby Witt Jr., Salvador Perez and Hunter Dozier will hopefully hold up their ends of the bargain going forward, but the loss of Merrifield and Benintendi will be noticed.
Adding the bat of Juan Soto would do nothing but help a Royals’ offense that has struggled so noticeably this season. So many time KC pitchers have thrown good games but, thanks to a lack of run support, have lost those games anyway. Imagine how many of those losses might have been reversed by Soto’s bat.
Not only would that bat be of great value to the club, but his uncanny ability to draw walks would have also come in handy. Soto was leading the majors in walks with 93 (33 more than second-place Max Muncy) and owned a 20.9 BB% going into today’s play—getting men on base is the name of the game, but another area in which Kansas City has struggled this season.
Soto’s glove could have been put to good use as well. The Royals lost a couple of good defenders in Merrifield and Gold Glover Benintendi, making the defensive skills of Soto all the more desirable. Soto could have been a perfect fit in right field, which remains a source of concern for the Royals.
And what about gate draw? Attendance has been down for some time now, and the star power of a player like Soto would have brought back to Kauffman Stadium even the most casual fans.
Soto in a Royals uniform would have probably served to boost the morale of fans and the team.
Unfortunately, the Royals are a small market team, so unless they find one among its own players, it might be a very long time before Kansas City sees a star like Soto shooting its way.
But it never hurts to dream.
Juan Soto isn’t a Royal. But what if he was?