Fire sale? Now isn't the time for the KC Royals
Whether the KC Royals are a bad team merely meeting low expectations, or a team just playing badly, depends much on your perspective. Glass half empty, or glass half full?
The numbers lean toward the former. Losers of 16 of their first 20 games, the Royals are tied with Oakland for the worst record in baseball. That they have Zack Greinke going for them against the Angels tonight is reason for some optimism, but the awful run support his teammates have consistently given him since he returned to Kansas City last season doesn't bode well.
And this is a club at the bottom, not only of the American League Central, where it already trails first place Minnesota by seven games and the struggling fourth-place White Sox by three, but also of too many important statistical categories. Through Friday's games, the Royals' team batting average (.203), OBP (.260) and SLG (.321), are the big leagues' worst, they're tied with Detroitl for the fewest number of hits, and they're second-to-last in runs scored and walks.
And the pitching? Only two clubs have worse ERAs than Kansas City's 5.42), and the bullpen's 6.56 is not only unacceptable, but also the second worst in the majors.
So, with the all-time franchise high for April losses and a 100-loss season well within reach, is it time for principal owner John Sherman and general manager J.J. Picollo to engineer a fire sale?
A sell-off is absolutely the worst thing the KC Royals could do right now
Even as a last resort, scrapping the team is an option the Royals shouldn't be considering. Yes, they've lost 80% of their games so far, but 87% of the campaign remains to be played, and a lot of things, including a nice winning streak or two, can happen between now and the team's Oct. 1 season finale against the Yankees. Kansas City isn't going to the playoffs, but avoiding 100 losses isn't entirely out of the question. Scuttling much of the team, though, and stocking it with prospects not yet ready for the big leagues, will make reaching that century mark more likely.
Then there's Kansas City's present major league inventory, the most attractive pieces of which the club won't soon trade or sell—Bobby Witt Jr., Vinnie Pasquantino, and MJ Melendez are in for the long term, the club saw too much good from Brady Singer last year and from Scott Barlow the last two seasons to abandon them in the midst of their early 2023 struggles, and dealing away Salvador Perez, whose 10 & 5 rights stand in the way of a trade even if the Royals wanted to make it (they don't), would spark a fan rebellion.
And assuming his return to form continues, Aroldis Chapman won't go on the block until trade deadline time when his value maximizes.
That leaves several players who, considering the slumps most of them are in (think Kyle Isbel, Nate Eaton, and Michael Massey), won't bring much in return.
Finally, remember what the terms "fire sale" and "sell-off" imply. Teams don't engage in such pursuits unless they're tearing things down for a rebuild, something the Royals are already in and probably don't have the stomach to suddenly start over. And fans weary of false hope and the club's continuing unproductive retooling will certainly turn away if Sherman and Picollo embark on yet another overhaul.
So, don't expect a wholesale liquidation from the Royals. It would be the worst of their options. And it's not going to happen.