1 former KC Royals player is red hot, while 2 others are ice cold

They all played in Kansas City and now call Chicago their baseball home.

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Ever since he became White Sox general manager late last season, former KC Royals infielder Chris Getz has busied himself restructuring a team that suffered the indignity of finishing ahead of only Kansas City in the American League Central in 2023. Much of that work involved other former Royals players and staff — by late December, Getz had added Nicky Lopez, Tim Hill, and Martín Maldonado to the roster and Drew Butera to the coaching staff. Mike Moustakas joined the Sox last month. Getz also dipped into KC's front office staff.

Andrew Benintendi, manager Pedro Grifol, and coaches Mike Tosar and Eddie Rodriguez were already on board when Getz took over.

And through Wednesday's Cactus League games, the exhibition contest results for three of the former Royals now playing for Grifol stand out ... but not in the same way.

Nicky Lopez is out-hitting Mike Moustakas and Martín Maldonado

Getz gave up relief pitcher Aaron Bummer to Atlanta for a five-player package that included Lopez in mid-November. Lopez, who Kansas City dealt to the Braves at last season's trade deadline, hit .277 in 25 games following the deal, then appeared once in the National League Division Series.

Grifol knows Lopez well, of course, and is playing him fairly regularly this spring. It's paying off — in eight games, the only Royals shortstop to ever hit .300 over a full season is hitting .375 (6-for-16); five of his hits have been doubles and he's stolen two bases.

Moustakas and Maldonado haven't fared as well.

Moustakas, a good candidate for the Royals Hall of Fame when his career ends, is playing on a minor league contract and an invitation to major league spring camp, and could be hitting his way out of contention for a spot on Chicago's Opening Day roster. He's been in Grifol's lineup for seven of the club's 13 games and has only three singles to show for his 19 official at-bats. That's a small sample size, but the resulting .158 average is a concern.

And Maldonado's performance at the pate has been even worse. The able catcher who filled in for injured Salvador Perez during much of the 2019 season (the Royals traded him to the Cubs in July and he went on to enjoy an American League pennant with the Astros after they swung a trade deadline deal for him) is hitless in 11 at-bats. To his credit, he's walked twice.

How the trio of former Royals will finish the spring is anyone's guess. What is known, however, is that Moustakas and Maldonado need to heat up.

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