After this week's roster deadlines, the KC Royals should be diving into the free-agent market soon. They did announce a first wave of players signed to minor-league contracts, but those are hardly a roster solution. Whether it be via trade or free-agent signing, the team needs more, and the fans deserve more. The free agency pool offers some MLB hope, and that pool includes two former Royals who lead their positions, according to MLB.com.
Several notable MLB free agents donned a KC Royals uniform once.
Writer Mark Feinsand named second baseman Whit Merrifield and left fielder Jorge Soler as the best free agents available at those positions. Merrifield hit the market after the Toronto Blue Jays declined the 34-year-old's $18 million option. Soler, on the other hand, opted out of his deal with the Miami Marlins to seek another long-term contract.
Merrifield earned his third All-Star appearance in 2023 with the Blue Jays while playing all over the field. He hit a respectable .700 OPS with 11 home runs and 26 stolen bases. Feinsand said Merrfield's "days of leading the league in hits are behind him," but the veteran could still be a valuable asset to a contending team. He may not be a Gold Glove contender anymore either, but he is still consistent at either second base or at either corner outfield spot. The Royals traded away Merrifield last season, but a reunion does not feel likely.
Soler is not known for his glove but rather for his powerful bat. He hit 36 home runs for the Marlins last season as the team made a surprising postseason appearance. He has 143 home runs since joining the Royals back in 2017 and led the AL with 48 in 2019. He made his first All-Star game in 2023 as well. At only 31 years old, Soler can still garner another multi-year deal, similar to the three-year contract he signed with Miami back in 2022.
Feinsand's list included several other former Royals as backup options as well. Catcher Martín Maldonado, shortstop Adalberto Mondesi, third baseman Mike Moustakas, center fielder Michael A. Taylor, first baseman Carlos Santana, and reliever Aroldis Chapman are all former Royals on the free agent market. If the Royals want to bring any nostalgic names back, they have plenty of options to choose from.