For the KC Royals, it's crunch time—less than 24 hours remain until baseball drops the curtain on its latest midsummer trade show. The annual MLB Trade Deadline is 5 p.m. CDT Tuesday—after that, no major league trades are allowed, meaning that unless he pulls off more than the trio of deadline-related deals he's consummated so far, KC Royals fans will have to wait until the World Series ends for general manager J.J. Picollo to pursue additional swaps.
Whether he pulls the trigger on any seismic moves before the deadline, or this winter, remains to be seen. And with tonight and all of the traditional business day tomorrow left for Picollo to haggle and deal, it would be unfair to rely on his three deadline-related deals to gauge KC's offseason possibilities.
So far, he's completed three summer trades, including the one via which KC shipped reliever José Cuas to the Cubs for outfielder Nelson Velázquez early Monday evening. (Our Jacob Milham will have more on that transaction Tuesday morning).
Before that, Picollo made two other deals, one predictable and the other not. He dealt utility man Nicky Lopez to Atlanta for reliever Taylor Hearn late Sunday afternoon; before that, he moved Aroldis Chapman, a player clearly acquired in January to be traded this summer, to Texas for pitcher Cole Ragans and outfielder Roni Cabrera. Everyone knew Chapman wasn't long for the Royals, and what made the Lopez trade unpredictable was the return.
But those transactions are in the past. What lies in the immediate future?
The KC Royals could still swing a deal or two before the MLB Trade Deadline
It's reasonable to believe Kansas City has deals left to make. After all, they have tradeable assets, although some, most notably Bobby Witt Jr., Salvador Perez, Brady Singer, and probably Maikel Garcia, aren't going anywhere. Catcher Freddy Fermin is proving so valuable as Perez's backup that moving him wouldn't be wise. Trading MJ Melendez, while possibly advisable considering his defensive and offensive shortcomings and Fermin's play, probably won't happen. Nor is a deal involving Nick Pratto or Michael Massey probable.
On the other hand, closer Scott Barlow is still the most likely Royal to be moved before the deadline expires, but hasn't been. His un-Barlow-like season may be the reason why. He might survive the deadline, but don't count on it. Contenders typically seek relievers for their stretch runs.
As we pointed out Sunday, another Kansas City pitcher's potential trade value is likely on the rise—starter Ryan Yarbrough, so instrumental in his club's series-sweeping victory over Minnesota Sunday, has pitched so well since returning from the Injury List earlier this month that he must be on some contending clubs' want lists.
And Picollo could—and should—elect to move some of his players, such as Matt Duffy, Matt Beaty, Edward Olivares, Taylor Clarke, and Dylan Coleman, who probably aren't candidates for long-term employment with the Royals.
So, deals are probably out there but Picollo is running out of time to make them. Stay tuned.