Kansas City Royals – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-06-20T20:06:42Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Royals Place Adalberto Mondesi On 10-Day IL, Designate Ben Lively]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163436 2019-06-20T20:00:40Z 2019-06-20T19:14:08Z The Royals announced a series of roster moves today. Shortstop Adalberto Mondesi is headed to the 10-day injured list with a groin injury. His placement is backdated to the 19th.

To replace Mondesi on the active roster, the club selected the contract of infielder Humberto Arteaga. Righty Ben Lively was designated for assignment to open a 40-man spot.

The Royals are going nowhere fast in 2019, and there doesn’t appear to be any long-term concern, so the loss of Mondesi should be only a temporary blip. The 23-year-old switch-hitter hasn’t been quite as good with the bat this year as last, but he has been close enough to league average at the plate and good enough in the field and on the bases to rack up 2.2 fWAR.

Lively was knocked around in his only MLB outing of the year. He carries a 4.07 ERA in 42 frames at Triple-A, with a 41:19 K/BB ratio. The 27-year-old as had his share of chances over the years but has not yet managed to hold down a steady big league job.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Royals Release Drew Storen]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163365 2019-06-20T01:36:57Z 2019-06-20T01:36:57Z The Royals have released right-handed reliever Drew Storen, according to Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com. Storen had been with the organization since it signed him to a minor league deal in February.

The Royals assigned Storen to the Double-A level in May, which was a sizable step forward in his rehab process from the Tommy John surgery he underwent as a Red in September 2017. However, the 31-year-old Storen then gave up nine earned runs on 15 hits and five walks (with 12 strikeouts) in 10 1/3 innings, which caused the Royals to get rid of him.

Storen, best known for his stint as a Nationals reliever from 2010-15, will now seek another big league organization. Also a former Mariner and Blue Jay, Storen has pitched to a 3.45 ERA/3.44 FIP with 8.52 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 46.1 percent groundball rate in 440 1/3 innings at baseball’s highest level. Storen has also converted 99 of 123 save chances, though his days as a closer appear long gone.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Moore: Royals Would Have “Crazy” Asking Price On Merrifield]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163057 2019-06-17T20:38:36Z 2019-06-17T20:38:36Z Royals GM Dayton Moore strongly downplayed the likelihood of the team dealing away star utilityman Whit Merrifield, as Tom Martin of KCTV5 covers (video link, on Twitter). Calling Merrifield “one of the best players in all of baseball right now,” Moore says “the ask would be just crazy” if rivals come calling this summer.

It’s sensible for the K.C. exec to take a strong public position on Merrifield with the deadline now in sight. After all, he’d surely need something truly compelling to justify parting with a player who has now fully established himself as a high-quality all-around performer who’d improve any team in the league given his defensive versatility.

At the same time, Moore has now set a rather lofty standard at the outset of the trade season. Perhaps the Royals really do not have any interest at all in moving Merrifield. If they’d like to consider offers, though, they’ll now have to deal with a public perception that any return must be overwhelming.

There is an argument to be made that Merrifield would best be utilized as a trade piece. The Royals seem to be a ways from contention and still need to gather up youthful, controllable core assets.

Merrifield is already 30 years of age, which won’t be a turnoff to contenders but perhaps places him outside the optimal range for the Royals. He’s signed to quite an appealing contract that would suit most any budget, making him a high-value trade target. We just ranked Merrifield tenth on our initial list of the top 2019 deadline candidates, but that placement would be much higher if he was clearly available. Merrifield would perhaps be the most widely pursued position player on the market if put up for bidding.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mellinger Breaks Down Royals]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163024 2019-06-17T17:04:30Z 2019-06-17T16:26:56Z
  • Veteran K.C. Star scribe Sam Mellinger delivered a realistic assessment of the Royals’ immediate outlook. The club signaled in mid-May that it believed it might be competitive for a Wild Card. GM Dayton Moore says he legitimately “expected more wins.” But as Mellinger explains, there’s an undeniable disconnect between expectations — particularly, those projected publicly — and the results on the field. There have been some notable successes, but the Royals have in the aggregate been nearly as bad as an unabashedly rebuilding Orioles club. Mellinger is careful to note that Moore and his top lieutenants aren’t at immediate risk of being replaced, particularly given their incredible achievements in recent years. It’s an interesting look at the state of a uniquely situated organization. Mellinger also notes that righties Jakob Junis and Scott Barlow have drawn some trade inquiries, though neither has been consistently effective this year and both have plenty of cheap control remaining.
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    George Miller <![CDATA[Health Notes: Zimmermann, Nimmo, Marlins, Smith, Wood, Dozier]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162978 2019-06-17T01:56:37Z 2019-06-17T01:56:37Z Tigers right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, currently on the mend after suffering a UCL sprain, looks to be nearing his return, writes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News. On Thursday, Zimmermann threw 4 2/3 innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Toledo, coming away pleased with the 69 pitches he threw and declaring his readiness to rejoin the Major League rotation for his next start. Whether that will actually come to fruition is up to the Tigers’ brass, though manager Ron Gardenhire seemed hesitant to welcome back a pitcher whose limited workload could lead to more bullpen days, which the team is trying to avoid. Regardless, the 33-year-old’s return looks to be just around the corner, certainly a promising development for a team that has had to patch together a starting staff after withstanding injuries to four-fifths of its Opening Day rotation.

    Here are the latest updates on other injuries from around baseball…

    • Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo is going to consult more specialists about the bulging disc in his neck, tweets Tim Healey of Newsday. Nimmo has been sidelined with that same injury since May 20, and the latest is a troubling development for an organization that has been maligned for its handling of players’ injuries. At this time, there is still no timeline for when Nimmo might be cleared to return.
    • Marlins left-hander Caleb Smith has been cleared to begin a throwing program, tweets Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Smith landed on the 10-day IL on June 7 thanks to inflammation in his left hip, but it doesn’t appear that the injury will keep him out much longer, as Smith is on track to return in late June. The 27-year-old southpaw has quietly emerged as a promising starter for the Marlins, having struck out 82 batters in 62 innings of work. Over the last two seasons in Miami, Smith has posted an impressive 3.83 ERA in 143 1/3 innings.
    • Hunter Dozier will spend the next three days rehabbing with the Royals’ Double-A affiliate, according to Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com, who adds that Dozier will later join Triple-A Omaha after the birth of his child. The next step following that is to work his way back to the MLB club, which is good news for the Royals, who originally tabbed Dozier to return in late June. It looks like that timeline is still a realistic target for the third baseman, who has emerged as one of Kansas City’s few untouchable pieces and an All-Star candidate in the American League.
    • Another promising update for the Reds, with left-hander Alex Wood nearing a rehab assignment, per C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic, who tweets that the southpaw has a live BP session on Tuesday, which could lead to a minor-league rehab stint if all goes well. Wood, 28, has been dealing with lower back soreness that has put his Reds debut on hold. However, it looks as if that time could come around the All-Star break for the former Dodger.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Royals Sign Second-Rounder Brady McConnell]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162794 2019-06-15T22:53:01Z 2019-06-15T22:45:30Z
  • The Royals have a deal with second-round pick Brady McConnell, as per MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo (Twitter link).  The 44th overall pick has a slot price of $1,689,500, though Kansas City went well over that figure in signing McConnell to a $2,222,450 bonus.  Ranked as the 39th-best prospect in the draft by MLB.com, their scouting report on McConnell citing his speed, contact ability, and “the chance for future average power.”  While McConnell was drafted as a shortstop, his future could be at second base or potentially even in center field.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Royals Option Ryan O’Hearn, Recall Jorge Bonifacio]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162709 2019-06-14T23:23:15Z 2019-06-14T23:23:15Z The Royals announced today that they have optioned first baseman Ryan O’Hearn. He’ll be replaced on the active roster by outfielder Jorge Bonifacio.

    It’s a somewhat disappointing moment for an organization that needs all the bright spots it can get. O’Hearn came out of nowhere in 2018, slashing a whopping .262/.353/.597 and popping a dozen long balls over 213 plate appearances. That didn’t really line up with his upper-minors numbers, leaving cause for skepticism, but the K.C. club was undoubtedly hopeful it had stumbled onto a gem.

    Things just haven’t gone as hoped thus far in 2019. O’Hearn has maintained an 11+% walk rate and even slightly lowered his strikeout rate to 24.4%, but his power has fallen off a cliff. Through 213 plate appearances, he has hit half as many dingers as he did last year and has seen sharp declines in barrel percent and exit velocity. The result is less than half the isolated power mark he posted in 2018 (.336 versus .145).

    The Royals provided O’Hearn with ample leash but ultimately had to make a move. While he tries to figure things out at Triple-A, veteran slugger Lucas Duda will try to find his own groove in the majors. If Duda can take advantage of steadier playing time, he could yet be a trade piece for the Royals.

    As for Bonifacio, this isn’t exactly a case of a former top prospect forcing his way back into the picture. The once-hyped 26-year-old disappointed in the majors last year and hasn’t responded thus far in 2019. After a brutal winter league showing, he has started the current campaign with 240 plate appearances of .195/.250/.395 hitting at Omaha. It seems the plan is to use him as a gap-filler while Hunter Dozier works back from the injured list.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[This Date In Transactions History: Cubs Land Jorge Soler]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162237 2019-06-12T01:05:55Z 2019-06-12T01:05:55Z It has been seven years since the Cubs landed a player they thought would become a long-term linchpin. On June 11, 2012, they won the bidding for free-agent Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler. At least a few teams bid upward of $20MM for Soler, who had just turned 20 a few months prior, but Chicago emerged victorious with a nine-year, $30MM offer. At the time, Soler was seen as a top 50 prospect in the sport.

    The power-hitting Soler tore through the Cubs’ minor league system beginning the summer he signed and wound up debuting in Chicago two years later. When the Cubs promoted him late in the 2014 season, Soler was even more of a celebrated prospect. He justified the hype initially, slashing a strong .292/.330/.573 (148 wRC+) with five home runs in 97 plate appearances. Thanks to that run, Soler cemented himself as the Cubs’ everyday right fielder heading into 2015; however, his numbers took a dive that season, during which he hit .262/.324/.399 (95 wRC+) with 10 homers in 404 trips to the plate.

    Despite his underwhelming output in 2015, Soler was once again in the Cubs’ season-opening lineup in ’16. The franchise ultimately won its first World Series in 108 years that season, but Soler didn’t play a huge role. While Soler turned in decent production in the regular campaign and the playoffs, injuries helped limit him to 264 PA during the season. After celebrating their championship that fall, the Cubs elected to part with Soler, deciding there was no longer a place for him in an outfield that also had Ben Zobrist, Albert Almora, Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward, Jon Jay and Matt Szczur in the fold.

    On Dec. 7, 2016, just over a month after it won the World Series, Chicago traded Soler to the Royals for reliever Wade Davis. Although Davis only had another year of control left, the Cubs needed a replacement for departed closer Aroldis Chapman. That helped deem Soler expendable in the Cubs’ eyes, and though Davis lasted just one season in their uniform, they haven’t really missed Soler.

    Since he joined the Royals in 2017, Soler has batted .234/.310/.450 (101 wRC+) and swatted 28 HRs in 633 attempts. Soler was particularly subpar during his first year in KC, in which he endured a lengthy minor league demotion, but bounced back in 2018 before suffering a season-ending left toe fracture in mid-June. In his return from that injury, Soler’s once again giving the Royals respectable offensive production this season, though his paltry .293 on-base percentage somewhat overshadows his 17 homers. The same is true of Soler’s defense (minus-7 DRS, minus-2.0 UZR), which has graded negatively for most of his time in the majors.

    Considering how much excitement there was when Soler signed with the Cubs, the 27-year-old has posted a somewhat disappointing big league career. Soler may move on to a third team soon, given rumors that the non-contending Royals are open to trading just about anyone on their roster. Wherever he plays next season, it’ll be the final year of the contract Soler agreed to with the Cubs seven years ago.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Royals Sign Alec Marsh]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162043 2019-06-10T16:54:10Z 2019-06-10T16:54:10Z
  • The Royals announced that they’ve signed supplemental second-round pick Alec Marsh. He’ll receive the full slot value of $906,800 that accompanies the No. 70 overall pick, Callis tweets. A right-hander out of Arizona State, Marsh was ranked most favorably by Law (No. 83 overall). He landed 97th at BA, 102nd at MLB.com and 113th at Fangraphs. Law notes that he has a four-pitch mix and a chance to start. Neither MLB.com nor Fangraphs gives Marsh a true plus pitch, but their reports credit him for average or slightly above-average offerings across the board and a good feel for pitching.
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    George Miller <![CDATA[Royals Agree To Terms With First-Rounder Bobby Witt Jr.]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=161949 2019-06-09T21:31:03Z 2019-06-09T20:07:29Z The Royals have agreed to a full slot deal with their first-round selection Bobby Witt Jr., per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. The 18-year-old, who was chosen second overall, will receive a $7,789,900 bonus to sign with the Royals.

    Witt, often touted as the second-best player in his class and the top high-school prospect in the class, is regarded as a “potential five-tool shortstop,” per MLB.com. Hailing from Colleyville Heritage High School in Texas, Witt’s father played 16 years in the big leagues, and the junior Witt is said to possess a strong arm and defensive instincts that should allow him to stick at shortstop and provide potentially plus defense. His offensive profile is fueled by impressive power that could make him a 20-20 player in the future, but there are some concerns about his ability to hit for average stemming from the swing-and-miss in his game.

    With his signing, Witt slides into a crop of impressive young infielders for the rebuilding Royals, joining Adalberto Mondesi, Nicky Lopez, and Hunter Dozier as some of the promising youngsters for Kansas City. While general manager Dayton Moore likely views Mondesi, who has turned heads with his play since the second half of last season, as a building block and shortstop of the future, that is not in consideration when drafting a talent like Witt, who plays the same position. Witt strengthens a mediocre Royals farm system that looks to be on the rise following the addition of Witt and the strength of last year’s draft class, headlined by Brady Singer.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Royals Set High Expectations For Bobby Witt Jr.]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=161268 2019-06-05T14:07:28Z 2019-06-05T14:02:47Z
  • The Royals did not hide their excitement at landing Bobby Witt Jr. with the second overall pick of the MLB Draft, as Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star writes. It’s easy to dream on top picks, but the Royals have done more than that. They’ve been waiting for this moment for quite some time. GM Dayton Moore says the club has been tracking Witt closely “since he was 14 years old,” calling it “an absolute honor and privilege to follow him and his career.” The high-end high school shortstop will look to follow his father in turning in a lengthy MLB career. Just how excited are the Royals? Moore: “It’s a great celebration in this organization today because we were able to select him. We knew a little over a year ago that this was a player that we were going to target. To see this day come has been very, very special for all of us.”
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Royals To Release Chris Owings]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=161122 2019-06-04T19:12:12Z 2019-06-04T19:11:49Z The Royals announced Tuesday that they’ve requested unconditional release waivers on infielder/outfielder Chris Owings. He was designated for assignment last week and will become a free agent once he clears in 48 hours. Kansas City has also recalled third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez from Triple-A Omaha.

    Owings was brought in early this winter (Dec. 5) on a one-year, $3MM contract that ultimately didn’t pay dividends for Kansas City. The longtime Diamondbacks utilityman hit just .133/.193/.222 through 145 plate appearances with his new club while playing all three outfield positions, second base, third base and shortstop. Owings’ decision to pounce on an early big league offer from the Royals proved wise even looking beyond his poor play in K.C.; several other veteran infielders and outfielders lingered on the market and eventually signed for smaller guarantees (e.g. Josh Harrison) or minor league contracts (e.g. Jose Iglesias).

    The 2019 season is the second straight rough campaign for Owings, who hit .206/.272/.302 through 309 plate appearances with the Diamondbacks in 2018. Overall, he’s never matched the gaudy numbers he put up as a prospect in Triple-A, when he once won Pacific Coast League MVP honors. But, Owings does have some speed (and is quite efficient at base stealing, as evidenced by a career 84 percent success rate), some gap power and experience playing nearly everywhere on the diamond. He could latch on with a club whose infield depth has been compromised or a team looking to bolster its bench with some versatility, but Owings’ play dating back to Opening Day 2018 makes a minor league pact seem the likeliest outcome for him.

    In Gutierrez, the Royals will take a second look at one of the key pieces acquired in last season’s Kelvin Herrera trade with the Nationals. The 24-year-old hit .281/.300/.386 with 18 strikeouts against just two walks through 60 trips to the plate in his first look at the big league level earlier this year. He’s hitting at a .312/.430/.403 clip in 93 Triple-A plate appearances, however, and the Royals have some additional needs around the infield with 2019 breakout slugger Hunter Dozier on the injured list.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Royals Place Hunter Dozier On 10-Day IL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=160942 2019-06-03T20:00:34Z 2019-06-03T20:00:34Z The Royals have placed third baseman Hunter Dozier on the 10-day injured list, per a club announcement. It’s backdated to May 31st, meaning Dozier could be activated by June 10th.

    Details of the injury aren’t really clear, though Dozier has been limited by chest tightness. It seems to be a relatively minor muscular issue. The hope was that he’d bounce back quickly enough without an IL placement, but that obviously proved optimistic.

    Any disruption to Dozier’s current run is unwelcome. The former top draft pick had failed to accomplish much at all in the majors until breaking out early this season at 27 years of age.

    Through 216 plate appearances this season, Dozier carries a .314/.398/.589 slash with 11 home runs and 41:26 K/BB ratio. He still needs to prove that he can keep things up, particularly as opposing pitchers increasingly focus on him as a threat, but it’s obviously quite a promising run of results.

    It doesn’t seem as if the present injury will present much of an obstacle. While Dozier is down, the Royals will presumably rely upon the just-recalled Cheslor Cuthbert at the hot corner. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Kelvin Gutierrez come back up to help fill out the infield mix; promoting him would not require a 40-man roster move.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Royals Reportedly Ready To Trade “Nearly Anybody”]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=160795 2019-06-02T12:06:13Z 2019-06-02T12:06:13Z With just a 19-39 record to show for the 2019 season, the Royals have the second-worst record in baseball, and are already looking ahead to next year.  MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that Kansas City is open to trading “nearly anybody on their roster,” with the obvious exception of a few key young players.  Adalberto Mondesi and Hunter Dozier are two of “the select untouchables,” though it seems as if K.C. is willing to at least discuss anyone else.

    This includes Whit Merrifield, despite the fact that the super-utilityman just signed a $16.25MM contract extension with the Royals before the season.  As MLBTR’s Jeff Todd explained at the time of the deal, however, Merrifield’s extension was something of a unique circumstance, as the contract only extended Kansas City’s control over Merrifield by as much as one free agent season (via a club option for the 2023 campaign) and thus didn’t offer much financial risk to the Royals beyond what Merrifield likely would have earned anyway in his arbitration years.  From Merrifield’s perspective, he was able to lock in at least one big guaranteed payday in his late-blooming career, as Merrifield is already in his age-30 season.

    From a trade perspective, that extension also makes Merrifield all the more attractive as a long-term piece for interested suitors.  He is enjoying another strong year at the plate, hitting .300/.355/.508 over 262 plate appearances, with seven homers and a league-high seven triples to go along with eight stolen bases.  Merrifield has significantly increased his pop (a .208 Isolated Slugging mark) and hard-hit ball rate (43.1%) from last season, though that latter number offers some promise of regression, as Merrifield’s xwOBA is only .349 (compared to a wOBA of .364).

    Merrifield has spent much of his time at second base and right field this season, though he has experience playing everywhere but catcher and pitcher over his four MLB seasons.  His age could be a minor red flag, though between Merrifield’s hitting prowess, defensive versatility, and long-term control, he stands out as one of the better trade chips available this deadline season.  It’s also worth noting that since Merrifield is locked up on an affordable deal, Kansas City is under no particular pressure to deal the 30-year-old unless the club really wants to sell high.  As Feinsand puts it, “the Royals will need to be overwhelmed by an offer to trade” Merrifield.

    Besides Mondesi and Dozier, it’s probably safe to assume that other younger, club-controlled Royals players (i.e. Brad Keller, Nicky Lopez, Jakob Junis, Jorge Lopez) are also unavailable in trade talks.  Alex Gordon is in the midst of a comeback year, though the veteran has already indicated that he wants to spend his entire career with the Royals, and thus isn’t willing to waive his no-trade production as a 10-and-5 player to approve a swap to a contender.

    Beyond that group, any other Royal could potentially be on the trade block.  Feinsald cites such notable names as Jorge Soler, Danny Duffy, and Ian Kennedy, though for the latter two players, the Royals would have to eat a big portion of their remaining contracts to accommodate a deal.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Royals Designate Chris Owings, Select Cheslor Cuthbert]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=160538 2019-05-31T18:21:59Z 2019-05-31T18:10:09Z The Royals announced today that they have designated utilityman Chris Owings for assignment. He’ll be replaced on the active and 40-man rosters by third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert, whose contract was selected.

    Owings has just not found a groove in Kansas City since signing a $3MM deal over the offseason. The club will remain on the hook for the balance, less any pro-rated league-minimum earnings he’s able to record with another organization. Because he has more than five years of MLB service, Owings can reject an outright assignment and still keep all he’s owed.

    The Royals obviously hoped for more out of Owings, who they targeted after he was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks. He’s striking out at an untenable 37.9% clip despite non-existent power. The resulting .133/.193/.222 slash line equates to an awful 7 wRC+.

    With Owings departing, the Royals will welcome back a familiar face that failed to stick around previously. The 26-year-old Cuthbert has not produced much at all in his prior major-league opportunities, with a .252/.303/.378 slash over 830 plate appearances. He’s off to a nice start to the year at Triple-A, turning in .310/.370/.528 batting line and eight long balls across 219 trips to the dish.