Edward Olivares’ volatility could end his tenure in Kansas City.
It is all about the Benjamins, baby. Olivares enters his first arbitration-eligible year following the 2023 season. He will likely see a raise from his $740,750 salary, but by how much? Arbitration costs for non-superstar players can be tricky, but a price tag exceeding $1.1 million would not be surprising. After all, Olivares will finish the season with a positive WAR, above-average wRC+, and career highs in several areas.
Olivares is entering his prime money-making years, turning 28 slightly before Opening Day 2024. His representation should recognize this and maximize his payday, no matter where it comes from. The Royals could make their jobs more interesting by non-tendering him.
Look at the Royals' potential outfield competition in 2024. Players like Tyler Gentry, Bubba Thompson, and Petyon Wilson could factor into that race. Anything is possible until the rubber meets the road, but more outfielders are pushing for an MLB spot ahead of 2024.
I will make my feelings clear, rather than be shrouded behind selective stats and passing messaging. I think the Royals need to move on from Olivares. He can be a bench bat or platoon outfielder in the MLB, but the Royals already have plenty of those players. Ask yourself this: would you rather see 100 games of Melendez, Velazquez, or Olivares?
The Royals should look to increase the outfield's ceiling, not settle for Olivares' shortcomings. He may be a hot hitter for another team, a la Ryan O'Hearn. What the Royals need to judge players on is what they have seen, not what a player could be after already spending three seasons with the club.