OF Jarren Duran
Reason for this trade: Relegate Kyle Isbel to ideal fourth outfielder role
When it comes to position groups, the Royals outfield arguably has the lowest ceiling. Kyle Isbel has been the most valuable player in the outfield over the past two seasons, while fans love to disparage the glove-first center fielder. MJ Melendez is a defensive liability no matter where he plays, but he has the offensive potential to keep him in the lineup. Keep going down the line. Hunter Renfroe, Drew Waters, and Tyler Gentry are all not well-rounded outfielders. If Kansas City wants to shock the MLB world, they will enter the trade race for Boston Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran.
The 27-year-old, who just finished a breakout season, will be under team control for five more seasons before becoming a free agent. He looked like a well-rounded center fielder in 2023 for the Red Sox, a team middling between being a buyer and a seller in the crowded AL East.
Duran had a.295 batting average with 44 extra-base hits, including eight home runs, 40 RBI, and a .828 OPS (121 OPS+) in 102 games before undergoing season-ending toe surgery in late August. He showcased his speed with 24 stolen bases and had the best defensive year of his young career for the Red Sox.
This would not be a cheap trade for the Royals, for numerous reasons. But if Boston is making him available to teams like the San Diego Padres, Kansas City should at least inquire about the asking price. There is a logjam of outfielders on the Royals 40-man roster, but offloading one and additional players for Duran would at least give Kansas City an upgrade in center field for the foreseeable future.