KC Royals Trades: Grading the club's 2023 major and minor league deals

Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages
2 of 7

Aug. 3 - KC Royals trade Luis Barroso to Baltimore for cash.

Some player-for-cash deals are glorified waiver claims and the Baltimore Orioles trading for reliever Luis Barroso reeks of that. The Panama native signed a contract with the Royals back in early 2018, landing in the Dominican Summer League. His climb through the Royals farm system took longer than most, as he started the 2023 season with the High-A River Bandits at 24 years old.

Barroso was exclusively a bullpen arm this season, appearing in 19 High-A games before the trade. He struggled to strike out the younger competition, with a 4.20 K/9 and 5.98 ERA. Control was never an issue, but Barroso struggled to induce weak contact and ground balls.

The Orioles traded for Barroso and sent him to the Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds. He appeared in four games there, totaling 7 2/3 innings. His strikeout rate improved to 8.22 K/9, and his ERA dropped to 3.52. But, the Orioles had seen enough of him and released Barroso on Aug. 22. He remains a free agent, but the 25-year-old Barroso does not seem like a high free agency priority.

Grade: A+

Aug. 1 - KC Royals trade Scott Barlow to San Diego for Henry Williams and Jesus Rios.

The trade KC Royals fans have debated for years. Closer Scott Barlow was once an elite player in Kansas City, peaking in a dominant 2021 season. The Royals pulled the trigger and righty with rippling locks to the San Diego Padres. The veteran has been solid for the Padres, appearing in 24 games for the team.

Barlow was good in San Diego, but not to the point where the Royals should regret moving on. The fresh start helped, as he posted a 3.11 fielding independent pitching (FIP), and allowed 10 earned runs in 28 1/3 innings. The strikeout-to-walk ratio improved noticeably, but control remains an issue with Barlow.

The Royals' return netted them a new top-10 prospect in right Henry Williams. The 22-year-old made five starts for the Low-A Columbia Fireflies, pitching 24 innings in total. He allowed a homer in all but one start but also struck out at least four batters on each appearance. Walks, like Barlow, are an issue as he walked seven batters across his final two starts. All in all, he ended with a 3.38 ERA, 5.16 FIP, and two wins in those four starts.

The 21-year-old Jesus Rios is the lottery ticket in this trade, heading to the Arizona Complex League after this trade. He has a raw fastball that reaches 95 MPH, but control issues are very prevalent. He walked and struck out the same amount of batters for the Royals ACL team in 4 2/3 innings. The 3.86 ERA makes him look good, but the 5.79 FIP reflects how volatile he is. But, you can't teach talent and Rios has that for sure.

Grade: B