3 early, but bold, KC Royals predictions for the 2023 season

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The KC Royals will trade at least one big-name player during the season.

Surprises have been the order of the week for those Kansas City fans who'd given up on the Royals swinging any significant trades this winter. First came Monday's deal sending center fielder Michael A. Taylor to Minnesota for relievers Evan Sisk and Steven Cruz; then Picollo pulled the trigger Tuesday on a trade moving Adalberto Mondesi (and a player to be named later) to Boston for Josh Taylor, another bullpen piece.

And rumors have it the Royals may not be done dealing for the winter. But even if they are, they'll trade at least one big Kansas City name before the regular season ends.

Most likely to be moved is Aroldis Chapman. Although the club hasn't announced the deal as official, it appears Chapman, long one of the game's elite relievers before his pronounced 2021 slump, is about to become a Royal on a one-year contract. But with the plethora of relievers KC already has in the fold, Chapman's looks more like an arrangement designed for short-term help and a trade deadline flip. Don't look for him to be a Royal after the midsummer deadline passes.

Unless Kansas City is already close to a major trade involving Scott Barlow, he could be gone sometime this season. A performance tracking with his 7-4, 24-save, 2.18 ERA effort of last year will make Barlow attractive to a lot of teams in July, and the Royals might not be able to resist the kind of return he could bring from a contender desperate for down-the-stretch bullpen help.

And don't dismiss as in-season trade candidates Hunter Dozier, Nicky Lopez, or even a young pitcher like Daniel Lynch, Jonathan Heasley, or Kris Bubic. And if Kansas City re-signs Zack Greinke, he's sure to generate July offers.

Next. KC adds major league infielder. dark

Look for Kansas City to start Nick Pratto in the minors, trade a major player, and avoid finishing last this season.