For each division, we will be doing an in-depth look at each team’s situations for the offseason and offer some insights to what would make sense.
On to the AL Central, where the Indians will try to overcome a loss of notable free agents and try to hold off the Twins and continue to beat down on the dumpster fires that are the Tigers, Royals, and White Sox rosters.
Kansas City Royals
Top FA Targets:
- Garrett Richards, SP
This should be their #1 target. They aren’t competing in 2019 and Richards likely won’t toe the mound in 2019… perfect match.
- Mark Reynolds, 1B/3B
1B Ryan O’Hearn can’t hit a LHP to save his life (.108/.195/.270)… but mashes RHP (.313/.403/.705). Mark Reynolds would be a great platoon partner here.
- Kelvin Herrera, RP
Bring their closer back on home to KC. Herrera had a lot of success in KC and he could be a good signing to turn around and trade to a contender at the deadline.
- Jose Iglesias, SS
Prioritizing defense over hitting here… per usual for the Royals. Mondesi Jr. could shift over to 2B in the event of a Merrifield trade.
- Carlos Gonzalez, RF
The Royals lack power and a middle of the order bat to pair with Salvy, but CarGo could be a good 1 year signing in hopes he restores his value. Bringing Moose back would also be a fit here.
Top 3 Trade Possibilities:
- Royals trade 2B Whit Merrifield to the Mets for OF Jarred Kelenic
This has been discussed across the hot stove for over a year… but the truth is Merrifield will be 30 years old and has 4 years of team control left. Over those 4 years, his speed will undoubtedly decrease due to age and then his value is limited. Trade him now while his value is still high. The Mets have a glaring hole at 2B and a full outfield for the next few years at least. Kelenic was just drafted 6th overall and he would present a great potential building block for the Royals.
- Royals trade SP Danny Duffy to the Padres for P Matt Strahm, OF Manuel Margot, & prospect SP Michael Baez (#7)
Danny Duffy is another oft-mentioned trade candidate and won’t be under contract by the time the Royals are relevant again. With roughly 3 years and $45M remaining, he is a bargain if he can regain his 2016-2017 form. The Padres have to move at least two OFs this offseason and Margot could be a good “lotto ticket” for any club acquiring the former top prospect. Strahm, traded to SD by KC previously, looked good out of the pen for SD and would instantly be KC’s best bullpen arm. Baez would be the significant “get” for KC here, as he is ranked 57th in the MLB top prospects list. KC may have to toss in a little money to extract the most value.
- Royals trade SP Ian Kennedy to the Orioles for 1B Chris Davis, prospects OF Austin Hays (#4) & SP Dillon Tate (#6), and $20M cash ($5M/year from 2019-2022)
This would’ve been a bold prediction if it wasn’t for my actual bold prediction… but with some cap space and few long term commitments, the Royals could extract value by taking on Davis’ albatross of a deal. For reference, Davis has 4 years and roughly $85M remaining on his deal ($21.1M/year) and Kennedy has 2 years and $33M remaining ($16.5M/year). Both Hays and Tate should start contributing in 2019 and the Royals would hope their value is worth the ~$30M the Royals would be taking on.
- Royals trade C Salvador Perez & RF Jorge Soler to the Braves for prospects OF Cristian Pache (#6), SP Luis Gohara (#7), and SP Kolby Allard (#10)
With only one prospect in the MLB Top 100 Prospects list and a dire need for SP, the Royals need to get in bed with the Braves. The Braves have a glaring need at C and a for a big RH bat behind Freeman. Perez checks both of those boxes and Soler would offer a nice platoon partner in their vacant RF spot. While Salvy has 3 years and ~$40M remaining on his deal, the Royals aren’t set to be competitive anytime within that time frame unless they move him and some other pieces. In return, the Royals get three top 100 prospects and kick-off the rebuilding process.