Welcome back to Kings of Kauffman’s offseason update series. Like many other FanSided baseball sites, we’ll be using this format regularly to keep fans up to date on what the KC Royals are, and aren’t, doing to improve the club. So, keep a close eye on this space.
What to do when the KC Royals aren’t making news in the free agent and trade markets?
Simple. Check in on some former Royals.
First up is Maikel Franco, the third baseman who joined Kansas City as a free agent three years ago this month and delivered everything the club needed from him during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He played every game, hit .278, his eight homers extrapolate to almost 22 over a full 162-game campaign, and he adequately filled the hot corner hole the Royals created when they traded Mike Moustakas away in 2018.
But none of that mattered when, probably for financial reasons, the club non-tendered him after the season. He played for Baltimore in 2021 and hit 11 homers and .210 in 104 games, then moved on to Washington last season and batted .255 with nine homers in 103 games.
Japan is his next stop—he recently signed to play for the NPB’s Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.
It looks like former KC prospect Frank Schwindel, a minor league slugger in the Royals’ farm system who played only six games for the big league club, is also headed for Japan.
After Kansas City released him during the 2019 season, he played in the Detroit system for a short time, then became a Cub in 2021 and endeared himself to Wrigley Field fans by slashing .342/.389/.613 and homering 13 times in 56 games. Unfortunately, he didn’t repeat that kind of performance last season and the Cubs released him before the campaign ended. He’s reportedly caught on with the Orix Buffaloes.
A key piece of a big 2021 KC Royals trade will play for Baltimore in 2023.
Outfielder Franchy Cordero never really got things going after coming to Kansas City in the trade that sent Tim Hill to San Diego just before the shortened 2020 season began. His only Royal campaign ended after 16 games when a fractured hamate bone forced him to the Injured List for the rest of the season. He was hitting .211 with a pair of home runs at the time.
The Royals dealt him to Boston in a winter three-team trade that brought Andrew Benintendi to KC. Although the deal worked out well for Benintendi, it didn’t for Cordero, who hit only .209 with nine home runs over parts of two seasons in Boston (he spent the rest of the time in the minors or on the IL).
Now, he’s moving on to Baltimore.
A former KC Royals backup catcher has a new home with an AL Central rival.
Kansas City fans will never remember him for his bat, but they will recall the serviceable job Meibrys Viloria did for the Royals behind the plate.
Viloria spent parts of the 2018, 20219 and 2020 seasons backing up the club’s catching corps, primarily when Salvador Perez or Cam Gallagher were injured. He hit only .159 in 16 games, but clubbed his first big league homer, a Fenway Park solo shot off Nathan Eovaldi in 2019.
A minor league free agent following the 2021 season, Viloria caught on with Texas and appeared in 26 games for the Rangers in 2022. The Giants claimed him off waivers last month, released him several days later, and he recently signed with Cleveland.
KC Royals arbitration developments.
With the signing of Adalberto Mondesi to a one-year contract last week, the Royals reduced their number of arbitration-eligible players to eight after beginning the offseason with 11.
Ryan O’Hearn re-signed and Luke Weaver was claimed off waivers by Seattle before Kansas City and Mondesi agreed to their arbitration-avoiding deal.
Major League Baseball Trade Rumors projects these potential awards for KC players yet to resolve their arbitration situations:
- Brad Keller, $7 million
- Scott Barlow, $4.9 million
- Nicky Lopez, $3.4 million
- Brady Singer, $2.9 million
- Amir Garrett, $2.6 million
- Kris Bubic, $1.8 million
- Taylor Clarke, $1.5 million
- Josh Staumont, $1 million
The Royals and any of these players who haven’t signed contracts for next season must exchange 2023 salary proposals by January 13. Arbitration hearings start Jan. 30.
KC Royals transactions to date.
Kansas City just isn’t making any significant moves. The late November signings of minor league free agent pitchers Marvin Rojas, Julio Rosario and Damian Jimenez remain the club’s only acquisitions, and it’s lost these players who saw action with KC last season:
- Brent Rooker. Waiver claim to Oakland.
- Nate Webb. Signed with Pittsburgh.
- Sebastian Rivero. Released.
- Gabe Speier. Waiver claim to Seattle.
- Tyler Zuber. Waiver claim to Arizona.
- Luke Weaver. Waiver claim to Seattle.
KC Royals rumors, speculation, projections.
- Three Tampa Bay free agent pitchers could interest KC.
- Can any Ranger free agents help the Royals?
- There might be help for Kansas City among Baltimore’s free agents.
- A former Royal might be a good reunion candidate.
We’ll have more Hot Stove news as it happens.