Kansas City could include Tyler Tolbert in an offseason trade package
If there's one position the Royals don't need to fill before they open the 2024 season in late March, it's shortstop. That's where Bobby Witt Jr. plays, and the club has no intention of replacing him — he's simply too good, he's under team control through the 2027 season, and extending him now should be the team's top priority.
Witt's presence complicates the advancement of every shortstop playing in the club's minor league system. That includes Tyler Tolbert, who since the Royals drafted him in 2019 (13th round) has risen to Double-A ball and should, after batting .276 with a .336 OBP and 10 homers for Northwest Arkansas this season, get a shot at Triple-A Omaha next year.
What makes Tolbert even more attractive is his incredible success stealing bases. Not only did he steal 50 for the Naturals, but he also swiped 60 at High-A Quad Cities two seasons ago, and 55 in a campaign split between the Arizona Complex League, Single-A Columbus, and Quad Cities in 2021.
But even if he continues hitting well and stealing so many bases at Omaha in 2024, and despite the fact he won this year's George Brett Hitter of the Year Award as the organization's top batter, Witt will still block him. He can, and has, played second base and center field, but his real value is at short.
The Royals would hate to lose Tolbert, but teams must sacrifice high quality to get high quality. Including him in a trade package could definitely result in an excellent return, one that could help the club immensely and immediately.