We heard from ESPN.com's Jayson Stark back on May 20 that the Royals were telling teams interested in making a trade to "get back to them in a month." There's still a couple of weeks to go before that supposed deadline, but really, it should never be too early for Kansas City to continue their rebuilding process by trying to move some of their veterans. Scott Podsednik has had a solid year but is somewhat of a one-dimensional speed threat, and Jose Guillen, as Stark noted, is hard to move given his big contract.
The most attractive overall bit of trade bait seems to be David DeJesus. The career Royal is having another solid season, posting an .846 OPS over 228 plate appearances going into today's play. That OPS would be a career-best mark over a full season for DeJesus if he can keep it up. Defensively, he has been above average in right field this year but could be a real asset in left field given his 18.9 lifetime UZR/150 rating at the position.
Contract-wise, DeJesus has about $3.14MM left on the $4.7MM salary he's slated to earn in 2010. The final year of his current deal is a club option worth $6MM for 2011, with a $500K buyout. For a team in need of outfield help, a $3.64MM minimum for two-plus months of DeJesus is pretty reasonable, and that $6MM option might not be a bad pickup either given the circumstance.
With his good play in 2010, DeJesus might have generated the trade market for himself that the Royals hoped would be there last winter. What contenders could be possible destinations for DeJesus?
- San Diego. It's still odd to think of the Padres adding salary at the deadline, but if they're still near first place in July, DeJesus could fill holes at either corner outfield spot.
- San Francisco. Pat Burrell has been signed but he's a major defensive liability in the outfield and may be also be used at first base and as a pinch-hitter. The Giants may not have the money for DeJesus and have a lot of options in LF and RF already, but DeJesus is certainly a more proven contributor than the likes of Andres Torres and Nate Schierholtz. San Fran's need could grow if Mark DeRosa ends up spending more time on the disabled list.
- Tampa Bay. Adding DeJesus would allow the Rays to move Ben Zobrist out of right and back to second base if Sean Rodriguez continues to struggle. DeJesus' contract is modest enough for the Rays to absorb and they certainly have enough good prospects to spare in a swap with K.C.
- Texas. Nelson Cruz's hamstring problems, plus the hitting woes of Julio Borbon and David Murphy, leave the Rangers in need of some outfield reinforcements. With the uncertainty surrounding the club's ownership situation, though, the Rangers might not be able to afford any decently-priced help at the trade deadline.
- Washington. It might be a stretch to consider the Nationals as contenders given their 6-14 mark over their last 20 games, but if the Nats can ride the Stephen Strasburg momentum and get back in the race, DeJesus would be a big help to their right field problems. DeJesus' presence would eliminate the need to put Cristian Guzman in right as a defensive replacement, thus preventing critical errors like the one that cost Washington this afternoon.