KC Royals Trade: Grading each deadline deal

The KC Royals trade deadline was a rollercoaster for fans. After the dust settled, how does each of the final day's trades grade out?

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Barlow joins the middling Padres

Barlow Trade

Royals fans have been waiting for this move for years. Closer Scott Barlow is finally out of Kansas City, albeit years after his trade value peaked. While Barlow's role in the Royals role was important, he could have netted a larger trade return in previous years. J.J. Picollo righted one of Dayton Moore's wrongs on Tuesday by trading away the longtime Royals closer.

Barlow's role in Kansas City over the years was undeniable. Even on noncompetitive Royals teams, he earned 56 saves and finished 123 games, both top-10 marks in franchise history. But, 2023 marked a low for the 30-year-old veteran. His 5.35 ERA, 3.63 FIP, and 2.14 K/BB ratio are all career-worsts, adding up to his first negative WAR season, so far. It was a far cry from the elite seasons seen in 2021 and 2022, but there is no going back and trading Barlow then.

The Royals still netted a notable haul for Barlow, receiving a top-10 San Diego Padres prospect and Arizona Complex League standout. The Padres drafted Henry Williams in the 2022 MLB Draft's third round, but he was a first-round talent prior to undergoing Tommy John surgery. He is still returning to form in the minors, with a 5.74 ERA, 1.90 K/BB ratio, and 1-5 record against Low-A competition. Still, Picollo believes in the return for Barlow.

“Being a top 10 prospect, they certainly didn’t have to give him up,” Picollo said. “I know they liked Scott, not just this year, but in the past, they’ve tried to pursue Scott. We knew that was a team that would probably hang in there with us. Williams was the guy that we thought was in the range of what we wanted in return. Rios is a nice piece to add to the deal and make it complete.”

The 21-year-old Rios is an interesting complimentary piece as he is older than most prospects in the ACL. But, he is a relief prospect with an improving strikeout rate, forces ground balls, and has a 4.81 FIP.

For what Barlow is right now, I think the Royals got a great return. But, most importantly, this starts a new chapter on the Royals roster. Barlow will play competitive baseball for the first time in his MLB career, and the Royals gain Williams, now their 9th-best prospect. Barlow is not as valuable as many think anymore, and the Royals managed to get an impactful return.

Grade: B+

dark. Next. Salvy at 1B. More Salvador Perez at first base?