Five games back of a playoff spot, the Royals aren’t ready to sell yet, but contending clubs are eyeing their potential trade chips, reports Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star. The changed qualifying offer system in the new collective bargaining agreement could impact the Royals’ decisions, per Dodd, who notes that draft-pick compensation isn’t as appealing as it was previously. Had the Royals been in this situation last year, they could have kept impending free agents such as Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas, issued them qualifying offers and landed first-round picks had they signed elsewhere. Now, in order to secure a first-rounder, KC would need to offer a QO, have the player reject it and then join another team for $50MM-plus. Otherwise, if a player signs someplace else for less than $50MM, the Royals will get a pick after the second round.
More from the Central divisions:
- The Cardinals will have to decide before the trade deadline whether their current lineup will suffice, observes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Ranking 26th in the majors in runs and 21st in wRC+, the Cardinals’ offense lacks a hitter capable of inspiring fear in opposing teams, several talent evaluators told Goold. They’re unlikely to acquire that type of hitter if he’s only a short-term rental, though, as Goold relays that the Redbirds “remain reluctant” to sacrifice significant assets for a stopgap. Internally, St. Louis isn’t convinced it needs to make a notable upgrade offensively. Rather, the club could pin its hopes on Matt Carpenter, Dexter Fowler and Aledmys Diaz recovering from slow starts. All three, especially Carpenter, have been resoundingly successful offensive producers in recent seasons.
- Writing for MLB.com, Cuban outfield prospect Luis Robert acknowledges that the White Sox “probably were the team that offered more money” than anyone else, which was key in his decision to sign with the team for $26MM last weekend. It also helped the White Sox’s cause that they’ve never shied away from adding Cuban players. That includes first baseman Jose Abreu, who “can be a big help for me, because he is a veteran and has experience in this league,” posits Robert. The 19-year-old believes he’ll need a full year in the minors before he’s ready to contribute at the big league level.
- Third baseman Travis Shaw has been a steal thus far for the Brewers, opines Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. Shaw, whom the Brewers acquired in an offseason trade with Boston, has slashed .296/.341/.538 with 10 home runs and five steals across 214 plate appearances with his new team. The 27-year-old is relishing his time in Milwaukee, telling Kepner: “I miss the guys over there, but coming over here was a blessing for me,” Shaw said. “I get a chance to play every single day. They wanted me, the ballpark fits my strengths a little bit more, and so far everything’s gone very smoothly. I’m glad I’m over here.”