The Royals parted ways with Danny Duffy yesterday, trading the veteran left-hander to the Dodgers for a player to be named later. Given Duffy’s long history with the Royals, it was a tough call for GM Dayton Moore, who told reporters (including Lynn Worthy of The Kansas City Star) that Duffy was “a family member” for the organization.
It remains to be seen if more difficult decisions are in store for Moore and company, as the Royals have a number of interesting trade chips. However, Moore indicated that the club would be more apt to move rental players, as opposed to players who are controlled beyond the 2022 season. By name, Moore said that the team didn’t want to move any of Whit Merrifield, Carlos Santana, or Mike Minor, though said the Royals would remain “open” to ideas.
The Royals signed both Santana and Minor as part of a rather busy offseason, indicating that the team felt it was to some extent on the other end of its semi-rebuild phase. After a hot start, Kansas City has since faded to a 45-56 record, though it makes sense that the Royals wouldn’t want to deal all their veterans and entirely start from scratch heading into 2022.
Merrifield’s name has been floated in trade rumors, as the Royals have reportedly been at least a little more willing than in the past to hearing what other clubs had to offer for the multi-position speedster. However, the Royals were known to be putting a hefty price tag on Merrifield, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Merrifield “is likely” to remain in K.C. beyond today’s deadline.
Given Moore’s hesitations about moving veterans controlled for just one more season, it seems even more far-fetched that Kansas City would trade a player like Scott Barlow, though The Athletic’s Jayson Stark hears that multiple clubs have some interest in the right-hander. Barlow has a 2.70 ERA/3.36 SIERA and a 31% strikeout rate over 50 innings out of the Royals’ bullpen this season, and has been generally solid since making his MLB debut in 2018. Barlow is controllable through the 2024 season, so the Royals could demand for quite a bit in a reliever-hungry trade market, assuming they’re inclined to deal Barlow at all.