Why these 3 KC Royals face make-or-break seasons

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This season should determine Edward Olivares' future with the KC Royals.

What the Kansas City brain trust has in mind for outfielder Edward Olivares has been a mystery for much of the time since he arrived from San Diego via the 2020 trade that sent Trevor Rosenthal to the Padres and eventually brought Dylan Coleman to the Royals as the deal's player to be named later.

Olivares impressed in the 18 games he played for Kansas City that season, hitting .274 with a pair of homers and seven RBIs. But 2021 was an odyssey for Olivares: eight times the Royals called him up from Triple-A Omaha, and eight times they returned him to the Storm Chasers. He played adequately for KC but still hit only .238, a result to which his constant shuttling between Kansas City and Omaha probably contributed. And although roster crunches occasioned more than one of his round trips, that Olivares constantly seemed the choice to be sent down called the club's plans for him into question.

A pesky quad issue kept Olivares out of action for over three months last season, but he still played 53 times and slashed .286/.333/.410, a line good enough to place him in the starting outfield conversation for 2023.

Whether he claims a full-time spot remains to be seen. His 2022 performance should be sufficient for a serious shot at the Opening Day lineup, but he'll have to play well to stick. If he doesn't, look for this to be his final Kansas City season.

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