The KC Royals seemed to reconfirm their long and, at least to fans, painful commitment to Ryan O'Hearn when they re-signed the long-slumping first baseman-outfielder back in November. But then, in a surprise yet warranted move, they designated him for assignment last week.
Tuesday, the club officially broke ties with O'Hearn when it announced (Twitter link) he's been traded to Baltimore for cash considerations.
Thus ends Kansas City's once-promising relationship with O'Hearn, whose 2018 big league debut appeared to signal a long and mutually beneficial career for him with the Royals. He slashed .262/.353/.597 and homered 12 times in 44 games that year. That was the best he'd muster in five KC campaigns, however: he hit just .211 with 26 homers from 2019-2022 and, although he made a name for himself as a decent pinch hitter last season, there was no clear long-term role for him.
The KC Royals appear to have no interest in a pair of their former stars.
With little more than a month left until his club opens its Arizona spring training camp, general manager J.J. Picollo hasn't added any new offensive punch to a roster sorely in need of it. Several decent bats are still free agents and even a trade or two could reap the Royals some help at the plate.
Two former Kansas City stars and fan favorites, however, don't seem to be on Picollo's radar. No signs point to him having any interest in Eric Hosmer or Mike Moustakas.
Boston recently released Hosmer after acquiring him from San Diego in a trade deadline deal last summer. Although he never hit for San Diego as well as he did for Kansas City, he still reached double digits in homers three of his five years with the team and has a career .277/.336/.428 line. His bat certainly isn't dead, and he could provide valuable veteran leadership to the young and raw Royals. And the fact San Diego is on the hook for all but the major league minimum part of his salary doesn't hurt.
Moustakas played well for Milwaukee after KC traded him there in 2018 but, after signing a $64 million contract to play with the Reds for four seasons, found his career derailed by a series of unfortunate injuries. Cincinnati recently designated him for assignment.
So, why are no rumors circulating about Royal interest in Hosmer or Moustakas? It's likely Picollo doesn't see enough significant upside to bringing either back to Kansas City. Yes, Hosmer can still hit and has, by all accounts, clubhouse value and good leadership skills, but the Royals are a team moving toward its prospects which, together with his declining offensive ability and too many injuries, also diminishes Moustakas' allure.
The Royals have traded Ryan O'Hearn.