First baseman Nick Pratto
Yah, Royals fans are not going to like this one. But, if the Royals want to make a James Shields-level move, first baseman Nick Pratto is a sensible trade option.
The 24-year-old Pratto lost his prospect status after playing 49 games in Kansas City during the 2022 season. He made his debut during the infamous Toronto series and returned to the major-league club five days later. HE stayed in Kansas City until Sept. 17, when he was optioned back down. Pratto made some Royals history in his debut season, including becoming one of three Royals ever to hit a walk-off home run in their first MLB season. There was a lot of good in his debut season, but awful stretches at the plate called Pratto's progression into question.
The Gold Glove-caliber defense has always been there, and the sensical approach was having Pratto be the first baseman of the future and Vinnie Pasquantino would be the designated hitter. But, Pratto has not adjusted to MLB pitching and didn't give Royals leadership much to be optimistic about. He easily overpowers Triple-A pitchers but struggles in the majors. His latest stint, two games in 2023, saw him strike out four times with only one hit and no walks.
Pratto has the first-round pedigree, power, and defense that many teams could covet. If the Royals do not believe in his long-term future with the team, there is no reason stringing him and fans along. Kansas City has enough needs to address that packaging Pratto and other pieces together could net them a solid veteran return. It is not the ideal end result, but certainly one fans should consider.