This is about the future. Pache's age and progression would fit the Royals' competitive timeline better than Bradley's would, easily. Oakland does not sound happy to possibly lose Pache but realizes that is the most likely outcome if they designate him for assignment.
"It was really hard to run out of time with a player that you feel is young and still has a huge future in this game. Unfortunately, for us and the roster, we’ve kind of run out of time with the options that Pache is out of and we’re going to have to make a move."- Oakland A's manager Mark Kotsay
Cristian Pache is still a young player oozing with potential. KC Royals should consider acquiring him, for 2023 and beyond.
The Royals hitting development staff has turned around several prospects' batting outlooks in recent years, including Melendez and Waters. Pache's anemic batting in 2022 is his biggest drawback. If the Royals have the history and Pache has the problem, then Kansas City should take a chance on him. Besides, Pache did show significant improvement in the second half of 2022. His OPS rose nearly 200 points, and an 8.6 BB% is progress.
Pache is heading in the right direction at least, or he was to close out the 2022 season. His .780 OPS this spring is not awful, and his four walks to eight strikeouts show some improvement at the plate. He is not going to be a superstar on Opening Day this year, but that is not what the Royals need. They would want Pache to be a starter on the next Opening Day and beyond.
If Pache goes to another team and succeeds, the story writes itself. People will say Oakland put too much pressure on him and they needed to have more patience. His next team was so smart for honing Pache's skills in the field and fixing his batting problems, and Pache is so lucky to finally find a home with a team that believes in him. That will be the story if he succeeds. If Pache doesn't, then his next team at least gave a former top prospect a shot, and they likely lost a prospect who never saw major-league action. The Los Angeles Dodgers did something similar for Danny Duffy. Even though Duffy never pitched for the Dodgers, you don't see fans decrying their front office.
If Pache does hit the waiver wire, the Royals' path to acquiring him seems easy. Bradley out, Pache in. But that is only if the coaches feel Pache has the tools and foundation they can work with in the meantime. It is a gamble, but the possible rewards for developing Pache extend beyond 2023. In a seemingly lost year, Kansas City should take a chance on the outfielder and see what happens.