The Royals announced they’ve designated outfielder Dairon Blanco for assignment. Kansas City also reinstated center fielder Michael A. Taylor from the COVID-19 injured list, activated newly-acquired reliever Albert Abreu and optioned southpaw Foster Griffin to Triple-A Omaha.
Blanco spent about two weeks on the roster, coinciding with Taylor’s absence. The speedster picked up a pair of starts in center field and tallied his firsts seven big league plate appearances, collecting a pair of singles. Prior to his call-up, Blanco hit 113 times with the Storm Chasers and had a solid .263/.381/.442 slash line. The 29-year-old swiped 13 bases in only 31 games, hitting five home runs with an excellent 15% walk rate but a lofty 25.7% strikeout percentage.
Kansas City will have a week to trade Blanco or place him on waivers. A Cuba native, he didn’t make his affiliated debut until his age-25 season. His advanced age has diminished his prospect status, but he draws praise for blistering speed and has a solid track record in the upper minors.
Taylor returns after a couple weeks out of action, where he’ll presumably assume his standard everyday center field role. Signed to a two-year, $9MM extension shortly before he would’ve hit free agency last winter, he’s gotten off to a nice start this year. Taylor is hitting a roughly league average .238/.333/.337 with a pair of homers.
That kind of offensive production is more than sufficient considering his status as one of the sport’s top defensive outfielders. With the Royals at the bottom of the American League standings, Taylor could draw some trade interest this summer from contenders looking for center field help. He’s under cheap control through 2023, though, so the Royals won’t feel pressured to move him for a mediocre return.