The KC Royals trading Maikel Garcia is unlikely, but still needs to be noted.
Stick with me on this one. Maikel Garcia was absolutely the Royals' rookie of the year. He came to Kansas City, saved fans from seeing more of Hunter Dozier, and played insanely good defense outside his natural position. But it is the fact that he is playing out of position that makes him a trade candidate for me.
Garcia's glove at third and Bobby Witt Jr. at shortstop formed arguably the best defensive duo in the American League. Both of them ranked in the MLB's top-12 for Outs Above Average, but don't remind the Gold Glove voters that. Garcia, a natural shortstop, made a seamless transition to third base. But if another team needs a shortstop, would they go after Garcia? I think so.
There is a rising wave of young shortstops around the MLB. There are also contending teams that may be impatient with their options for the position. Desperation and a ticking clock can make teams do surprising things, and moving quality prospects for Garcia would be one.
A moment of bluntness here. I am worried, to a fault, that Garcia has a similar trajectory to Nicky Lopez. Some of the metrics between Garcia's 2023 season and Lopez's quality 2021 season are eerily similar. But I admit that Garcia's hard-hit rate (ranked in the 94th percentile) and chase rate (ranked in the 89th percentile) are light years ahead of Lopez's in their respective seasons. Garcia is still growing, and working on his launch angle will greatly increase his production at the plate. He is not a core lock for me yet, but he can quickly get there.
All that being said, Garcia would have value in a poor free agent market. The Royals are not likely to move him, but they should consider it if an overwhelming offer comes in.
Trade partners: San Francisco Giants, Miami Marlins, Colorado Rockies