Wow, what a roller coaster 2023 was for Edward Olivares. His defensive struggles were known, but fans may forget he was one of Kansas City's hottest bats in the season's second half. But after ruining his prime developmental years, there is no better time for the Royals to trade Olivares.
Olivares played in a career-high 107 games last season, including 54 appearances in left field. He improved in several areas, with career-bests with a .769 OPS, .34 BB/K, 12 home runs, and 47 RBI. The first and second halves were very different for Olivares. Most of his plate appearances came in the first half, but he was a below-average batter with an 86 wRC+. Then he turned a corner in the season's second half. His workload was smaller, with a small stay on the IL. He served primarily as DH after the All-Star break, with great results. Across 44 games, he had a stellar .883 OPS and 138 wRC+.
Olivares' power in a platoon position is hard to dislike. However, retaining Olivares sends some distasteful messages. First, Olivares is as streaky of a batter as you will see. That, coupled with his atrocious ability in the outfield, does not inspire confidence. Secondly, it tells fans that the team is not trying to improve in a position of weakness. His bat is not much better than the league average, looking at his 105 wRC+ last season.
Olivares has had his time in Kansas City. The power at the plate was great to watch, but the majority of his moments induced headaches. If the Royals want to prioritize younger and more controllable players, they need to trade Olivares before the Winter Meetings end.