As night settled on San Diego and Day Two of baseball’s Winter Meetings Monday, the KC Royals maintained a low public profile and unsurprisingly didn’t make any moves. That left only rumors, speculation and projections about Kansas City and its present and former players for KC fans to ponder.
So, let’s ponder.
Things remained silent Monday concerning KC Royals free agent Zack Greinke.
Zack Greinke, an apparent priority for the Royals after his 2022 return to the club on a one-year deal, remains unsigned as of this writing. Fortunately for Kansas City, there were no reports Monday suggesting he was receiving interest from other clubs. The Royals should be considered a frontrunner for his services if he chooses to pitch at least one more season.
Is general manager J.J. Picollo considering any other hurlers? Considering his team’s long-standing pitching troubles, the answer to that question is “He better be” but, as he told MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince, a signing or signings may not be just around the corner:
"“You know the dollars are going to be challenging,” executive vice president and general manager J.J. Picollo said on Monday. “We tend to be more of a later-market team. So, I think that’s going to be more of how this pans out.”"
"“But we are engaged with a couple of guys right now that we think are just good fits for the team. And if that doesn’t work out, then definitely we will be more in the later market.”"
At least two former KC Royals were the subject of Monday speculation.
Sooner or later, Danny Duffy’s name was certain to come up in free agent speculation, and surface it did Monday when Michael Najarian offered him up as a reasonable possibility for Baltimore at Birds Watcher, one of our FanSided sister sites. As Najarian pointed out, Duffy won’t be expensive and pitched quite well before injuries forced him out of action two seasons ago.
We wrote late last season that Duffy is probably an acquisition the Royals will consider this winter. But should they? Duffy appeared well on the way to one of the best seasons of his career before a flexor issue, his second of the season, forced him to the Injured List in July 2021, and he’s since pitched only on a short injury rehab assignment. While Duffy probably has something to offer, it might be best if Kansas City focused instead on getting more out of its younger hurlers.
The New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported Monday that the Mets, Yankees and Astros are interested in former Kansas City Gold Glover Andrew Benintendi. The Royals, you’ll remember, traded Benintendi to the Yanks for pitchers T.J. Sikkema, Beck Way and Chandler Champlain in July; Benintendi played well in The Bronx but suffered a hamate fracture in September that sidelined him for the rest of the season.
Although Benintendi worked out quite well for Kansas City, the money he may command—Major League Baseball Trade Rumors projects he could rake in a multi-year deal worth $54 million—means he probably doesn’t top Picollo’s offseason “get” list.
How about all the speculation that clubs are interested in MJ Melendez?
Searching “MJ Melendez” and “trade” on the Internet leads to an abundance of reports, social media conjecture, and chatter suggesting other, typically unnamed, organizations are interested in MJ Melendez.
There are no signs, however, that Kansas City is interested in moving him
Nor should there be. Melendez made much of the big league opportunity KC gave him last season—he hit 18 home runs, drove in 62 runs and, although he remains Salvador Perez’s primary understudy, probably established himself as the favorite to open next season in left field for the Royals.
His bat still needs work (he hit only .217), and his defense in left and behind the plate must improve. But unless the Royals know something everyone else doesn’t, they have no need to trade Melendez.
And they’re not going to.
While the KC Royals stood pat, two teams reportedly made major moves.
The Mets’ reported signing of pitcher Justin Verlander and Philadelphia’s reported acquisition of Trea Turner made the biggest news of the Winter Meetings’ second day.
Watch this space for more Winter Meetings updates.