Kansas City Royals – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-06-24T03:30:45Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Royals Considering Signing Luke Heimlich]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125661 2018-06-24T03:15:25Z 2018-06-24T01:33:10Z
  • The Royals are considering a pursuit of controversial pitching prospect Luke Heimlich, GM Dayton Moore announced this week (via Vahe Gregorian of the Kansas City Star). “We continue to seek information that allows us to be comfortable in pursuing Luke,” Moore said of Heimlich, an undrafted free agent from Oregon State. Based solely on talent, the 22-year-old Heimlich was worthy of drafting – perhaps with a high selection. However, as a 15-year-old, he was convicted of molesting his 6-year-old niece. While Heimlich told Kurt Streeter of the New York Times last month that “nothing ever happened,” teams have still stayed away from adding him. Judging by the Royals’ interest, that may change, though Gregorian argues that they shouldn’t sign Heimlich. Moore, for his part, noted: “The easy thing is to wipe your hands of it and don’t even look into it or deal with it. We’re going to continue to look into it. I think that’s what good organizations do. I think that’s what good people do. And we try to be both.”
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Royals Activate Lucas Duda]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125628 2018-06-23T17:59:49Z 2018-06-23T17:59:49Z The Royals have activated first baseman Lucas Duda from the disabled list and optioned outfielder Paulo Orlando to Triple-A, tweets Rustin Dodd of The Athletic.

    Duda had been sidelined since May 14th due to plantar fasciitis. Although manager Ned Yost had initially given reporters a three-week stint as the high end for a DL stint, the recovery obviously took almost twice that long. The injury is often difficult to predict, of course; it’s affected other notable baseball players for unexpected lengths of time, including Albert Pujols, Corey Dickerson, and, recently, Jay Bruce.

    Regardless, today’s return gives Duda ample time to establish his value as a potential trade chip for the rebuilding Royals prior to the non-waiver trade deadline at the end of July. After an injury-plagued second half in 2017, the long-time Mets slugger was only able to secure a one-year, $3.5MM pact with Kansas City. Even prior to this season’s injury, Duda hasn’t shown the same type of power output he managed across the 2014-2015 campaigns, when he mashed 57 homers and put up a .249/.350/.483 batting line. His walk rate this year is barely half of his career average, as well. If he can return to form, there are plenty of teams who would likely be interested in adding him for such a small salary.

    Notably, 26-year-old Hunter Dozier survived the roster crunch created by Duda’s reinstatement. Though he’s hit just .227/.281/.353 across 128 plate appearances and figures to see a dramatic reduction in his playing time, the team clearly favors him on the active roster over the 32-year-old Orlando, who’s made 907 trips to the plate for the Royals since debuting in 2015.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Royals Trade Brandon Downes To Braves]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125563 2018-06-22T18:58:20Z 2018-06-22T18:58:20Z
  • The Royals’ Double-A affiliate announced yesterday that they’ve traded minor league outfielder Brandon Downes to the Braves. A return wasn’t specified, though presumably there’ll be cash or a player to be named later going back to the Kansas City organization to complete the deal. The 25-year-old Downes was Kansas City’s seventh-round pick in 2014 but entered the 2018 season with just five games played above Class-A Advanced. He’s hitting .198/.284/.365 in 111 PAs between Class-A Advanced and Double-A this season (including a 1-for-4 debut yesterday for Atlanta’s Double-A affiliate. Baseball America rated him as Kansas City’s No. 24 prospect four years ago, praising his solid-average speed and above-average power potential, though Downes has yet to deliver on that upside.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Royals Notes: Moustakas, Herrera, Escobar, Mondesi, Rebuild]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125528 2018-06-22T03:03:14Z 2018-06-22T03:03:14Z Now that the Royals have traded Kelvin Herrera to the Nationals in a surprisingly early deal of significance, the organization’s focus is shifting to Mike Moustakas, it seems. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports writes that Kansas City is now “looking to find takers” for the slugger, who burst out of the gates with a .301/.335/.569 slash through his first 194 plate appearances but has slumped to an ugly .219/.301/.375 batting line in the 146 PAs that have followed.

    Moustakas is earning $6.5MM in 2018 and is still owed about $3.53MM of that sum through season’s end. While his contract technically contains a mutual option for the 2019 season, there’s no reason to think it’ll be exercised by both parties. It’s exceedingly rare to see both sides exercise a mutual option, and if Moustakas ends up playing well enough that a club wants him at the $15MM value of that option, he’ll very likely feel emboldened to go seek a multi-year deal, knowing that he cannot be saddled with the burden of a qualifying offer for a second time.

    More out of Kansas City…

    • The Royals’ return in the Herrera trade — third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez, outfielder Blake Perkins and 17-year-old righty Yohanse Morel — has been regarded by many pundits as light, but GM Dayton Moore explained some of his thinking in an interview with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required). “The thing we knew about Perkins and Gutierrez is that they have a chance to be elite defenders,” Moore said of the two more advanced prospects he acquired. Moore said the team hopes to rebuild its roster around pitching and defense, and he likens the Herrera trade to the Zack Greinke blockbuster with the Brewers that brought Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi to Kansas City. Moore says that the organization viewed Cain and Escobar similarly — unsure how much they’d hit but confident they’d be premier defenders.
    • The trade of Herrera and likely trade of Moustakas aren’t the only forward-looking moves in store for the Royals. Manager Ned Yost told reporters this week that Adalberto Mondesi will begin to start a game or two per week at shortstop in place of Alcides Escobar (link via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan). Escobar will see some time at third base, second base and even in center field, while Mondesi will see some time at second base as well. The move will allow the team to evaluate Mondesi as a potential building block, and as Yost points out, it could be beneficial to Escobar as well. “He’s at a point in his career now where it will increase his value if he can play multiple positions, especially center field, third base, second base and shortstop as he can,” said Yost. Indeed, with Escobar hitting just .202/.251/.286 as an impending free agent, it’d behoove him to demonstrate defensive aptitude at a variety of positions.
    • Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star takes an excellent look at the early stages of the Royals’ rebuild, noting that it seems the organization is aiming for a fairly accelerated timeline. As evidence, Mellinger points to the slew of college arms the Royals took near the top of the draft as well as the fact that they targeted fairly advanced, defensive-minded prospects rather than lower-level talents with higher ceilings but more risk in the Herrera deal. Mellinger writes that part of the reason that the Royals aren’t likely to be open to a Salvador Perez trade is that they could be hopeful of being competitive again by the 2020 season, when Perez will still be under contract and will still be just 30 years of age.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Angels, Dodgers Pursued Kelvin Herrera Before Trade To Nationals]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125356 2018-06-19T18:05:16Z 2018-06-19T18:05:16Z The Angels and Dodgers were among the clubs that pursued reliever Kelvin Herrera before he was dealt yesterday from the Royals to the Nationals, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (in an article and on Twitter). In fact, per the report, the two Los Angeles franchises were “in serious talks” about Herrera.

    That information is not only of historical interest. For one thing, it may hint something about the process the Royals undertook to move Herrera. The veteran reliever was among the most obvious and the best rental trade pieces in baseball. Most often, teams holding such an asset will take the decision until the deadline approaches, hoping that’s the best way to maximize their return.

    With multiple teams involved in serious talks, it seems that the Kansas City organization decided to oversee bidding in mid-June. Perhaps that was due to concern over what other relief arms might reach the market and/or a desire to minimize risk associated with a high-performing pitcher. It also may reflect a universe in which contenders see an advantage to moving aggressively.

    That’s all open to interpretation. What is clear, though, is that both L.A. clubs have an eye on bolstering their bullpens — and a willingness to do so by pursuing a pure rental asset. Presumably, they’ll be among the teams to pursue other such hurlers that come available over the coming weeks.

    According to Nightengale, the Halos in particular “remain immersed in talks with multiple teams for pitching.” That’s notable given the team’s recent fade and spate of injuries. There’s certainly still a path to the postseason, but it’ll take some internal improvements (including a return to health) and stumbles from one or more teams ahead in the standings. It seems, though, that the organization is willing to chase roster improvements even in this setting — a topic that Nightengale explores in greater length in the above-linked post.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Nationals Acquire Kelvin Herrera]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125320 2018-06-19T01:14:04Z 2018-06-18T23:49:14Z The Nationals have officially struck a deal to acquire reliever Kelvin Herrera from the Royals, making for a fascinating early swap. Outfielder Blake Perkins, third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez, and righty Yohanse Morel will head to Kansas City in return.

    This agreement represents a rare, mid-June strike of real consequence. We’ve already seen a few other notable trades this year, so it could be that the market as a whole will move quicker than usual — and much more rapidly than it did last year.

    Herrera checked in at the #2 spot on MLBTR’s initial list of the top fifty trade deadline candidates. Beyond his excellence on the mound, Herrera’s pending free-agent status for the cellar-dwelling Royals made a trade all but inevitable. He’s arguably the most significant player to have been dealt in the month of June in recent memory — a topic we examined just last week.

    The Nats will take over the $7,937,500 salary that Herrera is earning in his final season of arbitration eligibility. With 82 of the 186 service days on the MLB calendar already in the books, the Washington organization will be on the hook for something like $4.44MM.

    Certainly, the high-octane Herrera looks to be a key new piece for the Nats’ pen. This deal is the latest summer bullpen swap for the organization. Last year, the Nationals added Sean DoolittleRyan Madson, and Brandon Kintzler, the same three hurlers that make up the preferred late-inning unit on the current ballclub. In prior years, the team added Mark Melancon and Jonathan Papelbon. (The latter trade was the most regrettable of president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo’s tenure. Not only was Papelbon a disaster in the second season of his deal, but the team handed quality young righty Nick Pivetta to a division rival.)

    The 28-year-old Herrera will likely function in a set-up role in front of Doolittle, but skipper Dave Martinez will also have the choice to switch things up as match-ups dictate. Herrera has spent plenty of time as the K.C. closer and has loads of high-leverage postseason experience, so he ought to be able to function in any role that his new team prefers.

    Herrera still works at about 97 mph with his fastball, though he once averaged over 99. Notably, he’s also generating swinging strikes at a quality 14.4% rate, marking a return to form after a downturn last year. Unsurprisingly, then, the results have been excellent thus far in 2018. Herrera has allowed just three earned runs in 25 2/3 innings, racking up a stellar 22:2 K/BB ratio along the way. He’s not generating quite as many grounders as he has in years past, but has tamped down on the long ball somewhat and has obviously been exceptionally stingy with free passes.

    On the other side of this arrangement, the package features three interesting players that most prospect rankings did not grade among the very best in the Nats’ system. Clearly, though, the Royals felt the package was strong enough to warrant an early move. For the Nationals, shipping out that trio still leaves the club with the bulk of its highest-ranked prospects still available for the future — or, perhaps, for further deals this summer.

    Depending upon who you ask, Gutierrez and Perkins each rated just outside of or just within the ten best prospects on the Nationals farm. The former is a 23-year-old third baseman who has scuffled a bit in his first attempt at Double-A this year, but is regarded as a talented corner defender who possesses a quality hit tool and some power potential. Perkins, 21, has run into some troubles at the High-A level but has an interesting blend of speed, power, and plate discipline along with up-the-middle defensive ability in the outfield. As for Morel, a reputedly live-armed 17-year-old, he’ll represent a long-term wild card in this swap.

    Jon Heyman of Fan Rag first reported the deal (Twitter links), with Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweeting it was in place. Jon Morosi of MLB.com first reported the return (via Twitter).

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Royals Place Jorge Soler On 10-Day DL, Promote Adalberto Mondesi, Select Wily Peralta’s Contract]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125188 2018-06-17T16:35:48Z 2018-06-17T15:20:10Z The Royals announced a flurry of roster moves (Twitter links) this morning, including outfielder Jorge Soler’s official placement on the 10-day DL with a left toe fracture.  Left-hander Eric Skoglund was transferred to the 60-day DL, while infielder Ramon Torres and right-hander Scott Barlow were optioned to Triple-A.  Joining the 25-man roster are infielder Adalberto Mondesi, outfielder Rosell Herrera, and righty Wily Peralta, as the Royals selected Peralta’s contract from Triple-A Omaha.

    [Updated Royals depth chart at Roster Resource]

    Soler is expected to miss at least six weeks of action with the injury, which was seemingly originally caused by a foul ball off his foot and then exacerbated when Soler was running on Friday night.  Soler’s production has cooled off following a huge opening six weeks, though he still had a .265/.354/.466 slash line and nine homers through 257 total plate appearances this season.  It seemed as though Soler was finally enjoying the breakout campaign long expected of him since his (not long ago) days as one of the game’s best prospects coming up in the Cubs farm system, though this DL stint is an unfortunate interruption to Soler’s season.

    Speaking of top prospects, the most noteworthy of Kansas City’s corresponding moves is the promotion of Mondesi, who is back in the majors for the first time in 2018.  Mondesi was a consensus top-40 prospect prior to the 2016 season, with Baseball Prospectus rating him as high as 16th on their list of baseball’s top 100 minor leaguers, though he has shown next to nothing at the plate in two brief stints in the Show.  Mondesi has just a .181/.226/.271 slash line over 209 career PA in the majors, though he has shown more composure as a hitter at the Triple-A level.  With the usual caveat that the Pacific Coast League is very hitter-friendly, Mondesi has hit .292/.328/.527 with 19 homers over 551 Triple-A plate appearances.

    Mondesi has already displayed excellent speed and strong defensive ability, so his prospect ceiling would only be further elevated if he can add value as a hitter.  He has mostly played shortstop in the minors with some time at second base, and with the Royals in rebuild mode, Mondesi could get an extended look at either position now that he’s back on the 25-man roster.  Whit Merrifield is certainly staying in the everyday lineup but can play other positions than second base, so Mondesi could displace Ryan Goins for regular time at the keystone, or potentially displace starting shortstop Alcides Escobar.  Manager Ned Yost told reporters (including The Athletic’s Rustin Dodd) that Mondesi will play four games a week for the time being, to keep Mondesi fresh after some injuries earlier in the season.

    Peralta signed a one-year, $1.5MM contract (with a $3MM club option for 2019) last winter, though he has yet to appear in a big league game for the Royals after being outrighted off the 40-man roster at the end of Spring Training.  Peralta has a 4.37 ERA over 35 innings at Triple-A, posting a strong 10.0 K/9 but a troubling 5.4 BB/9.  The hard-throwing veteran is looking to rebound after a very rough 2017 season that led his being outrighted off Milwaukee’s roster last summer.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rosenthal On Mike Moustakas' Trade Value]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125158 2018-06-17T02:31:14Z 2018-06-17T02:29:58Z Although Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas is an obvious trade candidate, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears (video link) that he’s unlikely to bring back much in a deal at his current pace. As Rosenthal points out, Moustakas’ offensive output has faded as the season has progressed, and the lefty-swinger has struggled all year against same-handed pitchers, who have limited him to a .224/.253/.353 line. He’s also due around $3MM after the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. All of those factors figure to harm Moustakas’ value, Rosenthal posits. After hitting .272/.314/.521 with 38 home runs in 598 plate appearances last year, Moustakas failed to generate much interest in free agency, leading him to re-sign with the Royals for a $6.5MM guarantee in early March. Three months later, he’s slashing an unremarkable .259/.314/.474 with 13 HRs through 296 trips to the plate.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Jorge Soler Diagnosed With Fracture In Foot]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125087 2018-06-16T22:18:45Z 2018-06-16T22:18:53Z SATURDAY: The Royals don’t expect Soler to require surgery, though he’s still likely to miss at least six weeks, per Maria Torres of the Kansas City Star (Twitter links).

    FRIDAY: Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a fracture of the first metatarsal of his left foot, Rustin Dodd of The Athletic is among those to report on Twitter. He evidently suffered the injury while running after putting a ball in play tonight, having previously fouled a ball off the same area recently.

    The outlook on Soler isn’t clear just yet, of course, but this injury seems all but certain to cost him a decent bit of action. As Dodd notes, Jayson Werth missed nearly three months last year with a similar injury, though that’s not to say such an extended absence will be required in this case.

    It’s unfortunate timing for the 26-year-old Soler, who was in the midst of a strong season after a brutal 2017 campaign. Through 254 plate appearances entering play today, he carried a .268/.358/.473 slash with nine home runs.

    Needless to say, the Royals won’t be competitive this year, so it’s easy enough to weather the loss in that regard. And Soler wasn’t likely to feature as a trade candidate given his not-so-distant struggles and lengthy control rights.

    Still, it’s rough news for a team that’s looking to build a new core and a player who finally seemed to be reestablishing himself. And there are financial implications as well. As we explained recently, Soler may have had cause to consider opting into arbitration at season’s end, but it now seems much more likely that he will stick with the guarantee provided in the contract he signed with the Cubs after he departed his home nation of Cuba.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Royals Select Brandon Maurer]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125049 2018-06-15T20:36:28Z 2018-06-15T19:52:38Z The Royals have selected the contract of righty Brandon Maurer, per a club announcement. He’ll take the place of fellow reliever Jason Adam, who was optioned to Triple-A.

    Maurer opened the year in the majors but was dropped from the 40-man after a brutal start to the season. His overall numbers at Omaha — 5.48 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 in 23 innings — really aren’t that intriguing. But the six-year MLB veteran has been better of late, Maria Torres of the Kansas City Star notes on Twitter.

    As for Adam, his first 15 1/3 MLB frames came with some ups and downs. He racked up 16 strikeouts against four walks, but also allowed six balls to leave the yard — accounting for most of the damage (eight earned runs) against him.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Amateur Draft Signings: 6/13/18]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124912 2018-06-13T15:38:16Z 2018-06-13T15:35:12Z We’ll use this post to track Wednesday’s notable agreements from the top few rounds of the draft (rankings referenced are courtesy of Baseball AmericaMLB.comFangraphs and ESPN’s Keith Law — with the scouting reports from MLB and Fangraphs both coming free to the general public) …

    • Reds second-round pick Lyon Richardson scored a $2MM payday to forego his commitment to the University of Florida, per MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). That’s nearly half a million over the slot value ($1,520,300) for a player who has only recently emerged as a high-end pitching prospect. MLB.com’s team was highest among major prospect outlets, ranking Richardson 67th on the basis of his ample upside as an athletic hurler who has shown big velocity despite unpolished mechanics.
    • The Yankees have announced a variety of signings, including deals with second-rounder Josh Breaux and third-rounder Ryder Green. These agreements were first reported by Callis (Twitter links), with the bonus values pinned down by Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). Breaux’s bonus of $1,497,500 handily tops his $1,086,900 slot value, while Green, too, receives an over-slot $997,500 bonus that exceeds his $576,400 slot value. All of the above lists include Breaux among the top 100 available prospects, with an increasingly promising bat and improving work behind the dish justifying the placement.
    • The Braves got second-round selection Greyson Jenista for a $1.2MM bonus that leaves them $250,500 of extra pool space to work with, Callis reports on Twitter. The Wichita State slugger received a fairly broad array of grades from prospect hounds, but the Fangraphs crew was highest. With big power and the ability to draw walks, but also plenty of swing-and-miss in his game, there’s a lot to like about the bat. One major question is whether Jenista will be able to work into being a reasonable defender in the corner outfield, or whether instead he’s destined for first base in the long run.
    • Second-rounder Alek Thomas will join the Diamondbacks rather than heading to TCU, as Callis also tweets. The deal includes a $1.2MM bonus that tops the $1,035,500 allocation that came with the 63rd overall draft slot. Law was quite bullish on the young outfielder, crediting him with “five-tool potential” and “an advanced feel on both sides of the ball.”
    • The Nationals have also agreed to terms with their second-round selection, UConn lefty Tim Cate, Callis adds on Twitter. It’s an at-slot, $986,200 bonus for the 65th overall choice of the draft. Best known for his big hook, Cate is an undersized hurler who has also had some worrying arm health questions crop up. Still, Baseball America ranked him 54th on its board, noting his “exceptional feel to land his breaking ball in the zone and bury it for swings and misses.”
    • Still another second-rounder, Florida Atlantic infielder Tyler Frank, will take home a $997,500 bonus from the Rays, per MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo (Twitter link). That leaves the Tampa Bay club with some extra funds to work with, as the 56th slot came with a $1,228,000 allocation. Also going under-slot were Royals second-rounder Jonathan Bowlan ($697,500 bonus vs. $1,168,300 slot) and Twins second-rounder Ryan Jeffers ($800K bonus vs. $1,140,600 slot), according to Callis (Twitter links)
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Moore: No Regrets Over Manaea Trade]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124808 2018-06-12T20:53:25Z 2018-06-12T20:53:25Z
  • Giving up lefty Sean Manaea helped the Royals win a World Series, but his rise in Oakland has surely left some K.C. fans wondering what might have been. As Rustin Dodd of The Athletic writes in a subscription piece, though, GM Dayton Moore has no regrets whatsoever about how things turned out. He explains how it was that the club sent Manaea to the A’s for utility star Ben Zobrist, saying that “Billy Beane was persistent” while the Royals “weren’t going to be outbid” for a key asset after coming up just shy the season prior. Now, though, Moore says the goal is to create a broad-based array of talent that will allow the organization to “compete for a long time,” hopefully without pursuing such drastic, win-now swaps.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[2017-18 Rule 5 Draft Update]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124748 2018-06-11T16:14:27Z 2018-06-11T16:14:00Z When we last checked in on this year’s crop of Rule 5 players, there were a combined 11 players — six on active rosters and five on the Major League disabled list — still with their new organizations. That number has fallen to nine, with six players (albeit a different mix) still active in the Majors, plus another three hanging around on the DL. The number could shrink again in the near future, as several of the remaining Rule 5-ers are seldom used pieces, and at least two teams will soon likely have to make a call.

    Active Big Leaguers

    • Victor Reyes, OF, Tigers (from D-backs): Reyes has received only 38 plate appearances since our last Rule 5 roundup, hitting .211/.211/.342 in that span. He’s picked up a pair of triples and a double, his first extra-base hits in the Majors, but is hitting just .196/.196/.304 on the season as a whole. The Tigers barely use Reyes, outside of pinch-running and late-game defensive switches, but the longer they commit to hanging onto him, the less likely it becomes that they return him to Arizona. At this point, they’ve played more than a third of the season with an effective 24-man roster, so they seem likely to see this through.
    • Brad Keller, RHP, Royals (from D-backs, via trade w/ Reds): The 22-year-old Keller hasn’t picked up many strikeouts (5.9 K/9) and hasn’t displayed elite control (3.3 BB/9), but he’s sporting a 57.9 percent ground-ball rate in 35 innings for Kansas City — including three starts. He boasts a 2.31 ERA thus far in 2018, though his 0.26 HR/9 mark and 82.2 percent strand rate seem poised to regress. Nonetheless, he’s performed well enough to date that there’s no reason for the Royals to consider cutting ties.
    • Burch Smith, RHP, Royals (from Rays, via trade w/ Mets): Smith, on the other hand, is a more complicated case for GM Dayton Moore and his staff. The 28-year-old is currently lugging a 6.49 ERA to the mound with him after surrendering 10 runs in his past 7 1/3 innings. Smith has racked up 28 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings, but he’s also issued 18 walks and hit two batters. Beyond that, seven of the 26 hits he’s allowed with Kansas City have cleared the fence.
    • Pedro Araujo, RHP, Orioles (from Cubs): Araujo was one of four players in Spring Training with the Orioles who came with Rule 5 status, but he’s the last to remain on their MLB roster. (Anthony Santander, who missed much of last season due to injury, fulfilled his Rule 5 requirements last monthM and was optioned to Triple-A.) Araujo was torched for four runs last night, including a pair of homers, and he now has a 7.71 ERA in 28 innings with the O’s. That’s not exactly a surprise considering the fact that he skipped both Double-A and Triple-A, and to his credit, Araujo has punched out 29 hitters in his 28 frames (albeit against 18 walks and two hit batters). Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun wrote this morning that Araujo’s roster spot could be in jeopardy with Zach Britton coming off the disabled list.
    • Carlos Tocci, OF, Rangers (from Phillies, via trade w/ White Sox): Texas stashed Tocci, 22, on the disabled list with a hip contusion for more than a month and rode his rehabilitation window as long as possible. Since being activated on June 2, Tocci hasn’t logged a single plate appearance. The Rangers’ season looks to be lost, so they may as well hang onto Tocci if they believe he has any shot at a future in the organization. He’s just 2-for-25 in 14 games this season and has struggled in Triple-A, but Tocci was productive for the Phillies’ Double-A club last season and hit well in Double-A during last month’s rehab assignment, too.
    • Elieser Hernandez, RHP, Marlins (from Astros): Hernandez has allowed just 10 earned runs through 23 innings for a 3.91 ERA, but he’s also picked up just 10 strikeouts and yielded five homers. Hernandez, 23, has shown strong control (four walks), but he looks quite hittable through his brief run with Miami so far. As with each team listed in this section, though, they can certainly afford to hang onto him.

    On the Disabled List

    • Julian Fernandez, RHP, Giants (from Rockies): Fernandez underwent Tommy John surgery back in April. He’ll accrue MLB service time while spending the season on the 60-day disabled list and will retain his Rule 5 status heading into 2019, if the Giants wish to hang onto him all offseason.
    • Nick Burdi, RHP, Pirates (from Twins via trade w/ Phillies): The Pirates picked up Burdi knowing he’d miss much of the 2018 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and he’s yet to throw in the minors. That said, Burdi is a former supplemental-round pick who was selected toward the top of the draft thanks to an 80-grade heater that regularly touches triple digits. If he can get healthy enough to pitch this season, the Bucs will have a free look at a tantalizing power arm.
    • Brett Graves, RHP, Marlins (from Athletics): The Marlins placed Graves on the 60-day disabled list with an oblique strain back on Opening Day, so he’s yet to pitch in the Majors. He has, however, recovered to the point where he’s begun pitching on a minor league rehab assignment. The results haven’t been pretty. Graves has a 6.23 ERA with a 16-to-7 K/BB ratio and four hit batters in 17 1/3 innings between Class-A Advanced and Double-A. He’s also nearing the end of his 30-day rehab window. His first rehab appearance came back on May 17, so the Marlins have less than a week to determine whether to bring Graves up to the Majors or run him through waivers and offer him back to Oakland.

    Returned to Original Organization

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Amateur Draft Signings: 6/10/18]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124690 2018-06-11T03:44:36Z 2018-06-11T03:30:36Z Here are the latest notable signings from beyond the draft’s first round.  For more on these players, check out pre-draft rankings and scouting reports from MLB.com, Fangraphs, ESPN.com’s Keith Law, and Baseball America.

    Latest Signings

    • The Royals agreed to terms with 24 of their picks, The Athletic’s Rustin Dodd tweets.  Sandwich pick Daniel Lynch (34th overall, the compensation pick K.C. received when Eric Hosmer signed with the Padres) and second-rounder Jonathan Bowlan (58th) were the highest selections among the players signed.  No terms were announced, though MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan believes Lynch signed for close to the $2,066,700 slot value assigned to the 34th overall pick.  The 58th overall selection has a $1,168,300 slot price.  Lynch, a left-handed pitcher from the University of Virginia, received rather varied grades in the rankings, earning high placements from Fangraphs (23rd) and Law (26th), while MLB.com (77th) and Baseball America (111th) were more pessimistic.  Bowlan, a right-hander from Tennessee, also had a wide range of opinions, with Law being the most bullish (69th) while BA only had Bowlan as the 230th-best prospect.

    Earlier Today

    • The Mariners have agreed to terms second-round pick Josh Stowers, MLB Trade Rumors has learned.  The deal is worth $1.1MM, slightly less than the $1,287,800 slot price attached to the 54th overall pick.  Stowers caught fire late in the college season, which apparently rose his stock enough in Seattle’s eyes to merit a selection that substantially outpaced his pre-draft rankings — Law and Fangraphs didn’t include Stowers in their top-100 and top-130 lists, respectively, while Baseball America (124th) and MLB.com (146th) also delivered modest evaluations.  The Louisville outfielder overcame his early-season struggles once he smoothed out his swing, and BA’s scouting report notes that “he doesn’t have one key carrying tool, but the sum of his parts gives him upside.”  Long-term questions remain about Stowers’ power and his ability to stick as a center fielder.
    • The Athletics have agreed to terms with 26 of their draft picks, as per a team press release.  The highest-selected of these players was second-rounder Jameson Hannah, a center fielder from Dallas Baptist University.  No financial terms were announced, though the 50th overall pick carries a $1,414,200 slot value.  Hannah was rated between 32nd (from MLB.com) and 60th (Fangraphs) in the prospect rankings, receiving praise for his excellent speed and strong contact at the plate.  Evaluators aren’t sure, however, whether Hannah’s contact skills will eventually lead to more power.  It’s worth noting that first-rounder Kyler Murray was not included in Oakland’s list of completed draft signings, as though the two sides reportedly agreed to terms earlier this week, though no official contract had been signed at the time.
    • The Angels announced that second-rounder Jeremiah Jackson has agreed to terms with the club.  Figures weren’t released; the 57th overall pick carries a slot value of $1,196,500.  Jackson ranked no lower than 57th (MLB.com) in the pre-draft listings, and he drew particularly strong praise from Keith Law, who ranked Jackson as the 23rd-best prospect and described him as “most promising [high school shortstop] in the class.”  Law believes Jackson is athletic enough to remain at shortstop, though others feel a move to second or third base is necessary down the road.  Jackson gained more notice for his bat, with a well-rounded hitting approach that will add some more power as he gets older.
    • The Marlins have agreed a deal with catcher Will Banfield, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter).  Banfield was the 69th overall pick, chosen in Competitive Balance Round B.  Heyman reports that the Georgia high schooler is expected to receive $1.8MM, which is more than double the $894.6K slot price of the 69th overall pick.  An outstanding defensive catcher, Banfield’s stock might have dropped a bit due to something of a down spring at the plate; MLB Pipline’s scouting report noted that dropping further than the second round could have led Banfield to attend Vanderbilt, so the Marlins may have had to pay that extra bonus money to convince Banfield to begin his pro career.  Banfield had solid placements in all four pre-draft rankings, finishing as high as 34th (MLB.com) and no lower than 68th (Fangraphs).
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Acquire Jon Jay]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124329 2018-06-07T02:44:05Z 2018-06-07T02:41:23Z 9:41pm: Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that the D-backs are taking on the remainder of Jay’s salary and will be on the hook for any of the $1.5MM worth of incentives he unlocks. Jay reportedly receives $100K for every 25th plate appearance beginning at 250 plate appearances and escalating up through his 600th plate appearance of the year. He’s already at 266 PAs on the season.

    7:52pm: The Diamondbacks announced that they’ve acquired outfielder Jon Jay from the Royals in exchange for minor league left-hander Gabe Speier and minor league right-hander Elvis Luciano. Infielder Kristopher Negron has been designated for assignment to clear roster space.

    Jon Jay | Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

    Jay, 33, inked a one-year contract worth $3MM this offseason and is still owed about $1.86MM through season’s end. He’s gotten off to a nice start at the plate in his first year with Kansas City, hitting .307/.363/.374 with a homer, nine doubles, two triples and three steals on the year.

    That’s a fairly typical year at the plate for Jay, who has batted at least .291 and posted an OBP of at least .339 in four of the past five seasons. While he doesn’t provide much in the way of pop, he’ll give the Diamondbacks a high-average hitter with solid OBP skills who rarely strikes out and can handle all three outfield spots.

    For a team that currently strikes out at a 25 percent clip — fourth-highest in the Majors — Jay’s 14.7 percent punchout rate would seem to be particularly appealing. Beyond that, Jay has virtually no discernible platoon split, having hit lefties (.288/.361/.347) at a comparable rate to righties (.290/.354/.393) throughout his career.

    Jay will join an outfield mix that also includes David Peralta, Jarrod Dyson and Chris Owings at the moment. Heading into the season, the outfield hardly looked to be a serious need for the D-backs, but they’ve since seen March acquisition Steven Souza hit the DL twice and are also without A.J. Pollock for upwards of two months due to an avulsion fracture in his thumb.

    While that has the makings of a potentially crowded outfield mix if everyone can get healthy, the D-backs will worry about that theoretical logjam down the line. For the time being, they’re taking a proactive approach to help stop the bleeding after a dreadful freefall that has seen their once-monstrous division lead whittled down to a half-game advantage over the Rockies.

    The price the D-backs paid for Jay appears modest, at best (as one might expect for a part-time outfielder on a modest contract). The 23-year-old Speier was a 19th-round pick by the Red Sox back in 2013 that has now been traded four times in his career. He went from Boston to Detroit in the Yoenis Cespedes/Rick Porcello blockbuster before next making his way to the Braves alongside Ian Krol in the trade that sent Cameron Maybin back to Detroit. Speier never threw a pitch in the Braves organization, though, as he was traded to the D-backs alongside Shelby Miller in the infamous Ender Inciarte/Dansby Swanson deal.

    For a player that’s bounced around so much, though, Speier has solid numbers in the minors. He’s currently in his second full season at the Double-A level and has thus far notched a tidy 3.03 ERA with 7.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a whopping 60.5 percent ground-ball rate through 29 2/3 frames. In all, he has a 3.67 ERA in 112 2/3 innings at that level, though he’s yet to ascend to Triple-A and is not considered to be among Arizona’s top 30 farmhands.

    Luciano, then, may be the more notable of the pair of hurlers headed to Kansas City. MLB.com ranks him 26th among D-backs farmhands, while Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDainiel of Fangraphs noted in their rundown of the system that Luciano has a 55-grade curveball and a chance to start. Of course, at 18 years of age, he’s years away from even sniffing the big leagues.

    Luciano pitched in the Dominican Summer League and in Rookie ball last season, posting a combined 2.84 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com give him a chance to have three average or better offerings, highlighted by the aforementioned hook, but he’ll need quite a bit more development. Callis and Mayo, though, note that he has “plus mound presence and maturity” and was well-regarded by many in the D-backs organization.

    For the Royals, the trade of Jay figures to be the first of many in a long summer of rebuilding. Jay was among the many veterans on a contract set to expire after this season, and it’s likely that the Royals front office will field offers on everyone from high-profile rentals like Kelvin Herrera and Mike Moustakas to veteran starters like Jason Hammel and even more controllable assets like Whit Merrifield. The rentals seem like virtual locks to go (Herrera and Moustakas, in particular), but GM Dayton Moore and his staff will undoubtedly carry an open mind as they entertain offers for nearly anyone on the roster.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cafardo: Red Sox Among Teams "Watching" Kelvin Herrera]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123925 2018-06-03T00:39:40Z 2018-06-03T00:35:06Z
  • Boston’s among the teams keeping an eye on Royals closer Kelvin Herrera, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. If acquired, the 28-year-old would return to a setup role with the Red Sox, thanks to the presence of closer Craig Kimbrel, and would further bolster a late-game mix that also includes Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes. Herrera, who’s in his last year of team control and making $7.94MM, has allowed just two earned runs and hasn’t issued a walk in 22 2/3 innings this season.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Royals Claim Rosell Herrera]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123883 2018-06-02T19:50:16Z 2018-06-02T19:36:02Z The Royals have claimed utilityman Rosell Herrera off waivers from the Reds, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports on Twitter. Herrera was designated for assignment yesterday in order to make room for catcher Curt Casali on the Reds’ roster. In a corresponding move, righty Nate Karns has been transferred to the 60-day DL.

    Herrera was an international signing of the Rockies in July of 2009, and vaulted his way up the club’s prospect list over the next few years. At one point, a .343/.419/.515 in his age-20 minor league season earned him the number 86 spot on Baseball America’s top 100 overall prospects. He was highly regarded enough at one point to be added to the club’s roster in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft.

    However, after a pair of dismal seasons in High-A ball from 2014-2015, the Rockies released him and re-signed him to a new minors pact; that very same thing happened again the following season. From that point on, he never really made any headlines until being once again released by the Rockies this past offseason and subsequently re-signed by the Reds in a minor-league contract. Even the rebuilding Reds, however, didn’t consider him to be worth a roster spot after watching him strike out in five of his first 13 major league plate appearances, even after the young outfielder managed to slug .500 across nearly a hundred plate appearances at Triple-A.

    It’s easy to think, though, that he could find playing time with a Royals club that seems content to look for hidden gems in the beginning stages of a rebuilding process. Herrera is capable of playing both the infield and the outfield, so he could very well earn a major league look in Kansas City with a strong minors performance over an extended stretch.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mike Moustakas Thriving After Disappointing Free Agency]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123564 2018-05-29T17:26:06Z 2018-05-29T13:28:46Z
  • Rustin Dodd of The Athletic examines the aftermath of a disappointing free agency for Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas in an interesting subscription piece. It certainly seems that the veteran has adopted a rather sunny outlook, focusing on the many positives in his life rather than dwelling on the fact he was unable to secure yet more money over a longer term. As Dodd explores, that strikes a bit of a different note for a player noted for his fire. Some teammates feel the 29-year-old Moustakas was “screwed” in a funky market this winter, but it seems he’s making the best of the situation. Certainly, with a .275/.329/.502 slash through 228 plate appearances, he has done all he can to this point to set himself for a second crack at free agency.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Eric Skoglund To Miss Time With UCL Strain]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123475 2018-05-28T20:34:10Z 2018-05-28T20:14:55Z
  • Royals left-hander Eric Skoglund has a Grade 1 UCL strain and “will be out a while,” Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com tweets. Skoglund, 25, had been a fixture in KC’s rotation prior to the injury, though he struggled to a 6.70 ERA during that nine-start, 49 2/3-inning span.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Kelvin Herrera Could Be Sought-After Trade Chip]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123350 2018-05-27T14:15:30Z 2018-05-27T14:15:33Z
  • Royals closer Kelvin Herrera could emerge as one of the most sought-after players in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, Olney observes. After an underwhelming 2017, Herrera’s amid an excellent start to the current campaign, and both that and the hard thrower’s impressive track record are among factors that should make him attractive around the league, Olney reasons. As an impending free agent on a rebuilding team, Herrera looks like a shoo-in to end up on the move, though Olney posits that KC would have leverage in trade talks because it could threaten to retain the 28-year-old and issue him a qualifying offer at season’s end.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Royals Preparing To Make Players Available]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123149 2018-05-24T18:57:58Z 2018-05-24T18:57:58Z The Royals are beginning to engage in some preliminary chatter with rivals in advance of the summer trade deadline, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. Of course, that does not mean that any near-term dealing ought to be anticipated.

    While GM Dayton Moore recently suggested the club would not make any decisions until the deadline is at hand, he struck a somewhat different tone in commenting for this report. Moore tells Heyman that, “when a team isn’t performing as well as they’d like, it makes sense to be open-minded concerning trade scenarios.”

    To be sure, Moore also noted that he “wouldn’t say we are moving quickly on the trade front.” But it does seem that the preparatory work is underway to facilitate some degree of deadline sell-off. That’s hardly surprising given the Royals’ miserable 16-33 start and basement-dwelling status in the game’s worst division.

    Surely, the Royals’ slate of pending free agents — including, most prominently, closer Kelvin Herrera and third baseman Mike Moustakas but also Jon JayLucas Duda, Alcides Escobar, and Drew Butera — will be on the table. But the report indicates, and Moore seemingly affirms, that there’ll be at least a willingness to consider more than pure rental pieces.

    It would remain stunning if the K.C. organization considered anything involving backstop Salvador Perez; frankly, there’s no reason at all to think he’d be available. Otherwise, the roster is not exactly loaded with established, high-performing, still-youthful assets. That said, 29-year-old second baseman Whit Merrifield is again hitting well and might be an interesting piece for a contender, though the asking price will surely reflect his solid play and remaining cheap control.

    There are some other interesting pieces on hand, to be sure. But younger and/or less-established players such as starter Jakob Junis, reliever Brad Keller, and outfielder Jorge Soler don’t really seem like traditional deadline targets. Meanwhile, the team’s slate of higher-priced veterans on lengthier and larger contracts are not performing to their rates of pay.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Jorge Soler Hires ACES]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122952 2018-05-22T02:26:59Z 2018-05-22T02:26:59Z Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has changed his representation, according to Robert Murray of Fan Rag. He will now be represented by the ACES agency.

    Soler, 26, will finish the current season with over three years of MLB service, setting the stage for what could be a difficult decision. His original contract —signed after he left Cuba in 2012 — allows him to opt into arbitration upon reaching eligibility. (Though he finished 2017 with 2.143 years of MLB service, he wasn’t eligible as a Super Two because he lacked 86 days on the active roster in the immediately preceding season.)

    Therefore, Soler’s new reps will have to help him determine whether to keep the existing deal, which promises $4MM annually through 2020, or instead to launch into the higher-upside, riskier waters of the arb process. If he keeps hitting as he has to this point in the 2018 season, going into arbitration might seem to be a pretty solid bet, though that’d mean giving up the guaranteed money for both of the two remaining seasons in hopes of commanding more in total.

    Unless the contract specifies otherwise, it seems that Soler will be eligible for arbitration in the 2021 season regardless. But he could potentially earn more that year if he is seeking a raise from a loftier base rate than the $4MM that’s presently called for.

    Whether the long-touted Soler is better off betting on continued production isn’t clear from the numbers. It has been a meandering path to this point. He exploded onto the MLB scene in 2014 before seeing his productivity dwindle in the next two seasons. After being dealt from the Cubs to the Royals, he struggled badly in 2017 and spent most of the year on optional assignment — though he did hit rather well at Triple-A.

    Now, Soler is back to driving the ball like he did in his debut campaign. Over 177 plate appearances in 2018, he owns a .297/.401/.486 batting line with five long balls and a career-high 13.0% walk rate. Though his .379 batting average on balls in play is sure to fade, Soler has made plenty of hard contact as well.

    You can find all current MLB agency affiliations in MLBTR’s Agency Database.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Royals Had Interest In Kendrys Morales Trade]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122872 2018-05-21T01:25:11Z 2018-05-21T01:25:11Z
  • The Royals had some interest “awhile back” in a reunion with Blue Jays DH Kendrys Morales, though that trade possibility has evaporated since both the Royals and Morales are badly struggling.  K.C. is looking like a deadline seller, while Morales is hitting so poorly (.163/.248/.279 through 117 PA) that the Jays may have to release him or eat all of the approximately $19.76MM left on his contract through the 2019 campaign.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cafardo: Mike Moustakas Could Draw Interest From Braves]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122831 2018-05-20T21:59:51Z 2018-05-20T21:59:18Z
  • “There’s a growing feeling among talent evaluators” that the Braves will go after Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, according to Cafardo. That may have become even more likely Sunday when the Braves ended their brief Jose Bautista experiment, though they’re bent on giving Johan Camargo a serious look at third base for the time being. Regardless, Moustakas does seem like a strong bet to finish the season outside of Kansas City, which is rebuilding and doesn’t have him under contract beyond this season (there is a $15MM mutual option, however). Moustakas is making a very reasonable salary ($5.5MM) and enjoying a terrific year at the plate, having slashed .294/.333/.528 with 10 long balls in 195 PAs.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Danny Duffy Discusses Latest Subpar Outing]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122784 2018-05-20T15:24:47Z 2018-05-20T15:15:52Z
  • Royals lefty Danny Duffy logged yet another poor start Saturday, pitching 4 2/3 innings of five-run ball in a loss to the Yankees, and spoke frankly about his struggles afterward (via Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com). “Sometimes you’re not special at something. Right now I’m not special at pitching,” he said. “What are you going to do? Run from it with some phantom DL crap? I’m not going on the DL. I feel great. Do they want to talk about the bullpen? I don’t know. That’s their decision.” Duffy had been a more-than-capable starter for the Royals entering the year, having earned a $65MM extension prior to 2017, but has registered a woeful 6.88 ERA/6.48 FIP through 51 innings in 2018. The 29-year-old’s trade value may be nil at the moment, then, even though he was in demand across the league as recently as the offseason.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Royals Not Focused On Trades Yet]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122746 2018-05-20T02:34:51Z 2018-05-20T02:34:06Z
  • Although the Royals own the majors’ second-worst record (14-31) and look like sellers in the making, they’re not yet focused on trades, general manager Dayton Moore tells Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com. “It all depends on where we’re at when that time comes,” Moore said. “Honestly, we’ve never been a team that has traded many guys off the 25-man roster. We’ll see where we are. There’s no reason to make advance decisions on that.” For now, the Moore-led Royals are more concerned about June’s draft, in which they own five of the first 58 picks, Flanagan points out. Once the draft’s in the rearview mirror, the Royals may have at least a few potential trade chips in contract-year veterans Mike Moustakas, Kelvin Herrera, Jon Jay, Lucas Duda and Alcides Escobar; speculatively, though, quality returns may be hard to come by in most of those cases.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Kendrick, Bumgarner, Mauer, Moore, Souza, Cuthbert]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122710 2018-05-19T23:02:45Z 2018-05-19T21:50:42Z Things got even worse for the Nationals today; Howie Kendrick appeared to sustain a serious injury while chasing down a Max Muncy fly ball. Kendrick was carted off the field, and was seen pointing to his ankle area. Jamal Collier of MLB.com reports that he’s off to get an MRI. The Nationals are already dealing with injuries to a number of other key players, including Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Eaton, Matt Wieters and Brian Goodwin, and can ill afford to lose another player from their outfield for an extended period of time. They’ll likely be anxious as they await further news on Kendrick.

    More injury news from around MLB today…

    • Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner considers his fractured left hand to be “95% or more” healed, according to a tweet from MLB.com’s Chris Haft. He’s on track to throw live batting practice on Tuesday and begin a rehab assignment on Saturday. Meanwhile, Haft says, Johnny Cueto will head to the club’s rehab facility in Arizona. The Giants will hope for the best-case scenarios as far as the timetables of these two players; their depleted rotation is a chief factor in the club’s sub-.500 record on the season.
    • Joe Mauer is headed to the Twins’ DL with concussion symptoms once again, according to LaVelle E. Neal of the Star Tribute. He reportedly did well in regards to concussion tests last night, but is apparently experiencing some sensitivity to light along with some balance issues. Mauer, who has dealt with concussion issues in years past, is walking at a 16.8% clip so far this season en route to a .404 OBP. According to chief baseball officer Derek Falvey (via MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger), the club is “not saying at this time that Joe has a concussion.”
    • The Rangers have placed lefty Matt Moore on the 10-day disabled list with what the club is calling right knee soreness. The move will make room for fellow righty Ariel Jurado, who will make the jump from Double-A to debut in the majors tonight. Jurado has a 2.57 ERA in 35 minor league innings this year, but with a 5.31 FIP that strongly disagrees with those results. He posted a 4.59 ERA at Double-A last season, with 5.45 K/9.
    • Diamondbacks outfielder Steven Souza will avoid the DL for the time being, says Zach Buchanan of The Athletic. A key offseason acquisition by the Dbacks, Souza has already spent the bulk of the season on the DL after suffering a pectoral strain upon diving for a ball in the outfield. Fortunately, it seems as though some minor pec soreness will not require a second DL stint for the time being.
    • The Royals have placed Cheslor Cuthbert on the 10-day DL with a lower back strain, recalling fellow infielder Ramon Torres from Triple-A Omaha in a corresponding move. Cuthbert is a career .252/.308/.383 hitter, and is performing especially poorly this season, as evidenced by his -0.5 fWAR for 2018. However, Torres seems unlikely to provide any significant upgrade; he’s hitting just .229/.280/.307 at the Triple-A level so far this season.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Danny Duffy Off To Rough Start]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122389 2018-05-15T18:45:54Z 2018-05-15T15:13:37Z Danny Duffy takes full accountability for his abysmal start to the year, Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star writes, but the Royals lefty is still searching for answers after struggling to a 6.51 ERA in 47 innings. As Mellinger explores in an excellent piece, Duffy’s very awareness of the need to improve and dedication to doing so may well be playing into his on-field difficulties. “[W]hen you don’t run from the truth, you’re going to be able to sleep at night,” says Duffy. “And I’m sleeping just fine. When I’m awake, that’s when I’m stressing. So I try to be truthful, man. I try to be honest.” A productive Duffy, whose contract includes $46MM in guaranteed money over the next three years, may well have been a hotly pursued trade piece this summer. Instead, the Royals will likely need to get him on track before considering any potential trade scenarios.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Royals Place Lucas Duda On DL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122374 2018-05-15T04:39:09Z 2018-05-15T04:09:34Z
  • Royals first baseman Lucas Duda is heading to the DL as well, the team announced, owing to a bout of plantar fasciitis. It seems the expectation is that the left-handed-hitting slugger won’t miss too terribly long, with skipper Ned Yost saying it may be anywhere from just under a week to three weeks before he’ll be back. (Via Rustin Dodd of The Athletic, on Twitter.) Duda is still sitting under league average with his output on the year, though he has surged a bit of late. If he can get back to health and start hitting closer to his career mean, Duda could still be a trade piece for K.C. this summer. Former first-round pick Hunter Dozier will come up to take the open roster spot.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Bubba Starling To Miss Several Weeks With Oblique Strain]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122158 2018-05-12T23:31:45Z 2018-05-12T23:31:14Z
  • Royals minor league outfielder Bubba Starling could miss upward of a month with an oblique strain, Rustin Dodd of The Athletic tweets. As Dodd notes, oblique strains have been a consistent problem for Starling, a former top prospect who still hasn’t gotten to the majors since the Royals chose him fifth overall in the 2011 draft. The 25-year-old struggled to produce at Triple-A this season before his injury, evidenced by a .257/.350/.314 line and no home runs in 41 plate appearances, though he did draw five walks against just six strikeouts.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Royals Release Kyle Lohse]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122018 2018-05-10T22:59:17Z 2018-05-10T22:59:17Z The Royals have released veteran right-hander Kyle Lohse, tweets Rustin Dodd of The Athletic. He’d been pitching with Kansas City’s Triple-A affiliate in Omaha after signing a minor league deal back in March.

    Lohse, 39, didn’t pitch in the Majors or minors in 2017 and only notched 9 1/3 big league innings in the 2016 season (all coming with the Rangers). He’d had a rough time adjusting to pro ball again to this point in the 2018 season, yielding a dozen runs on 17 hits and five walks with five strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings with the Storm Chasers (12.46 ERA).

    Lohse was a workhorse for the Twins, Cardinals and Brewers at various points in his career, though he hasn’t experienced much in the way of success at the big league level since posting a strong 3.54 ERA in 198 1/3 innings with the Brew Crew back in 2014. Lohse struggled in 2015, the final season of a three-year $33MM deal with Milwaukee, losing his rotation spot and being shifted to the bullpen late in a season that saw him post a 5.85 earned run average (albeit with a slightly more encouraging 4.40 xFIP).

    It’s possible, of course, that he’ll look to latch on elsewhere in a continued pursuit of returning to the Majors as his 40th birthday approaches, though he’ll have a ways to go before convincing a team that he’s capable of pitching in the Majors again.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Royals Release Seth Maness]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121993 2018-05-10T16:01:28Z 2018-05-10T16:01:28Z The Royals have released righty Seth Maness from his minor-league deal, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Maness requested the release, per the report, in hopes of finding a chance to work as a starter with another organization.

    From 2013 through 2016, Maness was mostly a steady and productive reliever for the Cardinals. But he underwent a primary repair procedure to address UCL damage back in 2016 and has not been able to regain his former standing since.

    Though he received some MLB time last year with the Royals, Maness has been knocked around a fair bit since his return. In 58 2/3 Triple-A frames since the start of the 2017 season, he has allowed eighty hits (nine of which left the yard) and 38 earned runs. Maness has recorded a 43:9 K/BB ratio in that span while drawing grounders on about half of the balls put in play against him, echoing his low-BB/high-GB history, but evidently he has not shown enough to warrant an extended stint in the majors.

    It seems that Maness would now like to revisit his roots as a starter. He did have success working from the rotation in his only full season of the minors, way back in 2012, when he pitched to a 2.97 ERA with 112 strikeouts and just ten walks over 169 2/3 innings split between High-A and Double-A. That was quite some time ago, but it would not be surprising to see an organization give him a shot at returning to a starting role in the minors.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Royals Shut Nate Karns Down For A Few Days]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121947 2018-05-09T23:59:23Z 2018-05-09T23:59:23Z
  • The Royals have shut Nate Karns down for the next four days because of persistent inflammation in his right elbow, tweets Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com. Karns has yet to pitch in 2018 after seeing his 2017 season cut short by thoracic outlet surgery. He opened the year on the shelf with some issues in his elbow as well, and it seems it’s his elbow that’s still slowing him more than anything else.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dodd On Cuthbert's Unique Path To Majors]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121892 2018-05-09T02:10:03Z 2018-05-09T02:10:03Z Rustin Dodd of The Athletic chronicles Cheslor Cuthbert’s improbable ascent to the Major Leagues from his humble beginnings in a fishing village of 6,000 on a small island off the coast of Nicaragua (subscription link). As Cuthbert explains as part of the excellent interview, when he moved from Corn Island to Managua (Nicaragua’s capitol), he actually didn’t even speak any Spanish. His hometown spoke a form of English Creole, making the move to Managua to pursue a career in baseball at the age of 15 all the more difficult. With no understanding of the language in Managua and no family in the city, the decision for Cuthbert to move wasn’t an easy one to make, but it paved the way for him to receive a $1.5MM signing bonus — the largest for any Nicaraguan player in history — just a few years later with the Royals.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[AL Central Notes: Farquhar, Romero, Goody, Soler]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121611 2018-05-05T15:06:45Z 2018-05-05T15:00:16Z Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports shares details of the long road ahead for White Sox reliever Danny Farquhar after the right-hander suffered a recent brain aneurysm. The incident occurred in the Sox dugout just under two weeks ago following an outing against Houston, and caused Farquhar to be hospitalized in what was a scary few hours. As Passan notes, 40% of people who suffer a brain aneurysm don’t survive them, while half of those who survive end up with resulting disabilities. He adds that success in the early stages afterwards is measured in small improvements. Farquhar’s agent says he’s been progressing and has a positive outlook. It’s fair to think it’ll be a significant amount of time before Farquhar is able to pick up a baseball again, but the early signs are encouraging for the right-hander’s health. Passan’s lengthy piece also details some historical precedents for aneurysms in baseball players, as well as the adversity Farquhar has already overcome in his seven-year MLB career. We at MLBTR are relieved to hear that Farquhar is stable, and wish him the best of fortunes in the road to recovery.

    Other items from around the AL Central…

    • Speaking of close calls, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press has a story from Twins rookie Fernando Romero’s past, when the right-hander almost drowned in a hotel pool. It took a while for Romero to gradually overcome his fear of swimming, but he now uses it as a conditioning method to strengthen his shoulder for pitching purposes. Berardino also tells the tale of how Romero nearly went unsigned for an entire international period, failing to receive an offer from any of the 50 scouts in attendance at a showcase. The main knock on him was lack of a “major league body”, and a perceived likelihood that he’d get hurt. Ultimately Romero found his way to the Perfect Game Tournament, where several more scouts were in attendance, and while the Astros made a strong run at him, he ultimately went to the Twins for a signing bonus of $260K.
    • According to Terry Francona (via a tweet from Jordan Bastian of MLB.com), it’s best-case scenario outcome for Indians reliever Nick Goody, who left the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader with an elbow injury. Tests have revealed no structural damage; it’s thought that Goody’s pain was the result of hyperextending his elbow. He’ll reportedly be shut down for a week and then re-evaluated. It’s a sigh of relief when considering the worst-case scenarios in an elbow-fearing pitching climate; it’s well-known that ligament injuries can result in 12-18 month absences. Goody’s a vital part of a Tribe bullpen that’s recently shuffled through a few low-upside relievers; they’ve designated both Matt Belisle and Jeff Beliveau for assignment in the past week and before that lost Andrew Miller to the DL with a hamstring injury.
    • Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com tells readers about the plate discipline improvements made by Royals outfielder Jorge Soler. In stark contrast to last season, he’s already drawn 18 walks and has seen 4.46 pitches per plate appearance. His .309/.429/.526 slash line on the season is exactly what Kansas City envisioned when they acquired him from the Cubs prior to last season in exchange for closer Wade Davis. Manager Ned Yost credits the improvements to the fact that Soler is “not chasing much of anything”, though it’s certainly worth noting that his chase rate this year is in line with his typically low figures the past few seasons and therefore not indicative of any major changes. I’d add, though, that Soler is certainly seeing more pitches per plate appearance than he did during his injury-riddled 2017 campaign; he’s seen 4.26 PPPA so far, up from 3.99 last season.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Royals Select Jason Adam]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121596 2018-05-05T15:43:25Z 2018-05-05T01:04:00Z The Royals have selected the contract of righty Jason Adam, the club announced. He’ll join the active roster while sliding into the 40-man spot the team opened yesterday.

    Adam, 26, was a 5th-round selection of the Royals in the 2010 draft. The local product ended up being dealt away, though, before dealing with a long run of arm troubles. (ESPN.com’s Keith Law documents them concisely on Twitter; Maria Guardado of the Kansas City Star has the full story of Adam’s path to the majors.)

    All of that is in the rearview mirror, though, at least for the time being. Adam has been a revelation in the upper minors early in the 2018 season, allowing just two earned runs on seven hits in 18 frames over ten appearances. His stuff has seemingly played up in a relief role, with 26 strikeouts against six walks.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Royals Outright Brandon Maurer]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121517 2018-05-03T23:03:21Z 2018-05-03T23:03:21Z The Royals have outrighted right-hander Brandon Maurer, per a club announcement. He’ll join the organization’s Triple-A affiliate.

    Maurer, 27, looked to be an interesting buy-low piece when he was acquired last year in a multi-player swap. But things have not gone well for him since he landed in Kansas City.

    Through 24 1/3 innings with the Royals, most of them coming down the stretch in 2017, Maurer owns an 8.88 ERA with 24 strikeouts and 14 free passes. He has continued to be bombed in his six Triple-A frames since being optioned earlier this season, recording an 8:1 K/BB ratio but coughing up 11 earned runs on 11 hits.

    Jason Martinez <![CDATA[Knocking Down The Door: Fowler, Guerrero, Staumont, Stewart, Urias]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121271 2018-05-01T22:54:40Z 2018-05-01T22:20:53Z “Knocking Down the Door” is a regular feature that identifies minor leaguers who are making a case for a big league promotion.  

    Dustin Fowler, CF, Athletics (Triple-A Nashville) | Athletics Depth Chart

    Despite a devastating leg injury that occurred during the first inning of his MLB debut last June, many still expected Fowler to be the starting center fielder on Opening Day. While health did not appear to be a major factor—he had 47 plate appearances in 19 games this spring—the 23-year-old was understandably rusty at the plate. He hit just .222 with two walks and 13 strikeouts in the Cactus League. As a result, his Oakland A’s debut would have to wait until he began to show the form that catapulted him up prospect lists with the Yankees last season (.871 OPS, 13 HR, 19 2B, 8 3B, 13 SB in 70 Triple-A games). If the last seven games are any indication, he is getting close.

    With 14 hits in his past 33 at-bats, including his first two homers of the season, a trio of three-hit games, three doubles and a pair of triples, Fowler has boosted his batting average over the .300 mark. He also has six stolen bases, which is a good indication that he’s recovered from his injury. The versatile Mark Canha has been productive while getting the majority of starts in center field as of late, but he’ll move back into a part-time role once Fowler arrives.

    Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire) | Blue Jays Depth Chart

    A 19-year-old with only a few weeks of Double-A experience has no business being on this list. Or being this good, even if his father is a Hall of Famer. But Vladimir Jr., after just 96 plate appearances, is making it clear that he has no business being at this level for much longer. The right-handed hitting third baseman is slashing .380/.442/.582 with two homers, eight doubles, 10 walks and 10 strikeouts in his first 20 games. He was also 7-for-13 in MLB camp during an impressive spring that he capped off with a walk-off homer in an exhibition game in Montreal.

    The only question for now is whether he makes a stop in Triple-A before he begins his MLB career. Once he’s in the Majors, he’ll be in the lineup on a regular basis. With Josh Donaldson expected back soon from the disabled list after missing time with shoulder discomfort, it’s possible that Guerrero spells him at third base a few days per week and serves as the designated hitter on other days. The odd man out would be Kendrys Morales, who is hitless in his last 21 at-bats and is 8-for-50 on the season.

    Josh Staumont, RP, Royals (Triple-A Omaha) | Royals Depth Chart

    Entering 2017 as one of the Royals’ best prospects, Staumont flopped in his first full season in the upper minors with a 5.56 ERA and 7.0 BB/9 in 124 2/3 innings between Triple-A and Double-A. A move to the bullpen has him back on track so far in 2018.

    While the walks are still an issue—he’s walked seven in 10 1/3 Triple-A innings—he’s allowed just one earned run and hasn’t walked more than one batter in seven of his eight appearances. The 24-year-old right-hander has also struck out 22 batters, including 10 over his past two outings (3 2/3 IP). Coincidentally, the Royals have one of the worst bullpens in the Majors. Their closer, Kelvin Herrera, isn’t part of the problem, but he’s expected to be traded to a contender by July 31st and probably sooner than that. Staumont should get a chance to prove that he can be a part of the team’s late-inning, post-Herrera relief crew.

    Christin Stewart, OF, Tigers (Triple-A Toledo) | Tigers Depth Chart

    The Tigers had a fairly uneventful offseason, which wasn’t totally unexpected as they moved toward a rebuild. But with several free agents available at a discounted rate—Carlos Gomez, Carlos Gonzalez and Jon Jay are just a few examples—it was a bit surprising that they took a hard pass and began the season with Mikie Mahtook and Leonys Martin in their starting outfield. While it’s not clear whether the Stewart factored in to the decision—he hit 28 homers in Double-A in 2017, but also struck out 138 times—he could soon get the chance to show that he can be a part of the solution.

    Not only has the 24-year-old left fielder continued to mash in the upper minors—he’s slashing .311/.404/.568 with four homers, five doubles and 11 walks in his first 89 Triple-A plate appearances—he’s also striking out at a much lower rate than in year’s past (24 % in ’17; 15 % in ’18). Playing alongside Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez should only help to continue that trend.

    Luis Urias, 2B, Padres (Triple-A El Paso) | Padres Depth Chart

    Padres hitters continue to rack up strikeouts at a record pace. They lead the league with 309 whiffs in 1135 plate appearances and are on their way to surpassing the MLB single-season record of 1571. As a comparison, Urias has struck out 150 times in 1618 plate appearances in the minors. He also has 166 walks. The 20-year-old won’t be their savior in 2018, but he can certainly help this bunch.

    Over his first 19 games in Triple-A, Urias is slashing .307/.416/.440 with two homers, four doubles, 13 walks and 15 strikeouts. He has nine hits, six walks and one strikeout over his last 22 plate appearances. The Padres moved quickly to fill two rotation spots with prospects—Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer both debuted in April—and now it’s becoming increasingly possible that Urias joins them to replace the struggling Carlos Asuaje (.576 OPS) as the starting second baseman.

    Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Royals Release Clay Buchholz]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121310 2018-05-01T19:12:18Z 2018-05-01T19:03:22Z The Royals have released righty Clay Buchholz from his minor-league deal, per a club announcement. He had been pitching in the minors in hopes of earning a call-up to the MLB roster after signing late in Spring Training.

    Buchholz, 33, would have earned at a $1.5MM annual rate had he cracked the MLB roster. The contract also came with $250K in available incentives and a May 1st opt-out date.

    Clearly, the Royals decided against bringing the veteran hurler onto the major-league roster. Buchholz, in turn, evidently felt he could find greater opportunity with another organization. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of opportunities he fields now that he’s back on the open market.

    Buchholz, who has certainly had his fair share of success at the game’s highest level, has produced good results in the upper minors thus far. He has worked 16 innings over three starts, permitting just two earned runs on ten hits. But he’s also carrying a middling 9:7 K/BB in that stretch, and Rustin Dodd of The Athletic tweets that the team has “seemed less bullish about his stuff” over time.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Poll: What Last-Place AL Team Is Likeliest To Turn Its Season Around?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121171 2018-04-30T03:38:50Z 2018-04-30T03:38:50Z With one day left in April, we’ve already seen a wide gulf emerge within the American League standings.  Three clubs (the Red Sox, Yankees, and Astros) are on pace to surpass 105 wins, while six teams are also currently on pace to win fewer than 70 games.  By comparison, only six teams in all of baseball failed to surpass the 70-win plateau in 2017.

    Obviously, it’s still very early, and there’s plenty of baseball still to be played for these struggling teams.  Three teams, however, will head into May in the basement of their respective divisions, and in those cases, a slower start could be much harder to overcome.  The Rangers, Royals, and Orioles all faced rather tricky paths to contention even in the best of circumstances, and their poor April records may force them to make some hard decisions about how long they’re willing to go before considering selling pieces at the trade deadline.

    Let’s check in on the three last-place teams to see which has the most potential to make April simply a “slow start” en route to a respectable or even a contending season…

    Rangers (11-18): With Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, and Rougned Odor all on the disabled list, Texas fans are beginning to have some unpleasant flashbacks to the team’s disastrously injury-plagued 2014 campaign.  Still, while the injury bug explains the lack of offensive production, the Rangers’ pitching situation has looked as shaky as it appeared to be heading into the season.  Other than the surprise continuation of Bartolo Colon’s late-career renaissance, it’s been mostly bad news for both the rotation and the bullpen, with Martin Perez, Matt Moore, Matt Bush, Alex Claudio, and Kevin Jepsen all getting off to particularly tough starts.

    The team’s big infield trio may not all be back until June, so can the Rangers at least tread water until then?  It doesn’t help that the rest of the AL West teams are all at the .500 mark or better, though the Angels (+5), Mariners (-2), and A’s (+3) are all nothing special in terms of run differential.  (Of course, Texas is a miserable -39 in that department.)  The Rangers will need more arms to step up if they are to turn their season around, plus some internal reinforcements have already come in the form of Delino DeShields and Tony Barnette, who are both back after lengthy DL stints of their own.  Top prospect Willie Calhoun could also provide more help for the lineup, though Calhoun is off to a quiet start at Triple-A this year.

    Orioles (8-20): The Orioles and Rangers share pretty similar tales of woe.  Baltimore has also been hurt by a tough division, a lack of quality starting or relief pitching, plus several key injuries — Zach Britton and Mark Trumbo have yet to play a game, while Jonathan Schoop, Tim Beckham, and Colby Rasmus are all on the DL.  Manny Machado’s individual brilliance has been tempered by a lack of hitting from almost everyone else on roster, with Chris Davis standing out as the single worst position player by fWAR (-0.6) in baseball so far this season.

    Dan Duquette unofficially cited Memorial Day as the date when teams begin to evaluate where they really stand in a season, so the O’s therefore have just under a month to get on track.  That might be enough time to get at least some of the injured parties back, plus it’ll give time for Alex Cobb to hopefully start rounding into form given that the late-to-sign righty has a 13.11 ERA over his first three starts.  On paper, Baltimore has too much hitting talent to be as bad as they are at the plate, so you figure that at least some type of positive correction is in store.

    Royals (7-20): The Royals held off on a full-fledged rebuild over the winter, though their decision about whether to try for another playoff run may have been made for them by their lousy April.  The Royals entered Sunday’s play with the fewest runs in the majors, as only Mike Moustakas and Jorge Soler were putting up good numbers at the plate, and some quality returns by the starting rotation have been undermined by arguably baseball’s worst bullpen.  Even with closer Kelvin Herrera still boasting a perfect 0.00 ERA through 9 2/3 innings, the road to Herrera has been plagued by potholes, as the relief corps is collectively at or near the bottom of the list in just about every major statistic.

    One bright side for the Royals?  Their competition.  The AL Central has been baseball’s worst division through the first month, with the first-place Indians holding just a 14-12 record.  As bad as Kansas City has been, the Royals are still just 4.5 games back of the second-place Tigers.  Since the White Sox and Tigers are rebuilding and the Twins are struggling to recapture their 2017 form, there is some opportunity for the Royals to regain some ground if they can beat up on their division foes.

    Which of the AL’s last-place squads do you think has the best chance of recovering from its shaky April? (Link for app users)

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Obstacles To A Moustakas Trade]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121161 2018-04-30T01:54:11Z 2018-04-30T01:54:11Z
  • Mike Moustakas looks like a prime candidate for a deadline trade, though in a video for FOX Sports (Twitter link), Ken Rosenthal cautions that the Royals could face some difficulties in finding a trade partner.  For one, there aren’t any contenders with an obvious need at third base, though injuries can certainly change that equation.  One rival executive tells Rosenthal that it can be hard to trade a single-position rental player like Moustakas at the deadline.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Royals Release Tyler Collins]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120969 2018-04-28T02:02:40Z 2018-04-28T02:02:40Z The Royals have released outfielder Tyler Collins, according to Rustin Dodd of The Athletic (via Twitter). He was playing at the organization’s top affiliate on a minor-league deal.

    Collins, 27, had seen MLB action over the past four seasons with the Tigers. He has had his share of opportunities, but has only managed a .235/.299/.380 slash in 552 plate appearances in the majors.

    It seemed that Collins might have a shot at earning some time in the K.C. outfield mix, but he turned in a tepid performance in the Cactus League. And he never got going at Triple-A Omaha, where he has managed just seven base hits — all singles — in his 62 plate appearances.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Moore: Royals Want Yost Back In 2019]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120935 2018-04-27T01:41:54Z 2018-04-27T01:41:54Z Ned Yost’s current contract expires at season’s end, but Royals general manager Dayton Moore tells Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports that the organizational hope is that Yost will be managing the team beyond this season. “We definitely want him back,” Moore said.Heyman indicates that the decision on whether Yost remains in Kansas City appears to be one that is dependent on Yost’s own personal preferences. Yost hasn’t made up his mind about managing beyond 2018 yet, tweets MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan, who notes that Moore has suggested for years that Yost will effectively have the reins in Kansas City for as long as he likes. Rustin Dodd of The Athletic tweets that Yost says his goal is to see the rebuild through to the point where his successor will be positioned for early success.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Royals Notes: Buchholz, Perez, Gordon]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120563 2018-04-22T19:51:19Z 2018-04-22T19:45:10Z
  • The Royals have promoted right-hander Clay Buchholz from Double-A to Triple-A, per Tony Boone of the Omaha World-Herald. Buchholz will make a rehab start Sunday, his second of the year, and could debut with the Royals as early as next Saturday, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com suggests (Twitter link). The 33-year-old Buchholz, who missed nearly all of last season with the Phillies after undergoing surgery to repair a flexor tear in his right forearm, joined the Royals last month on a minor league contract. That deal includes a May 1 opt-out, perhaps making it all the more likely the Royals will promote him – especially considering how poorly fifth starter Eric Skoglund has fared in the early going.
  • Meanwhile, injured Royals cornerstones Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon are “very close” to returning, manager Ned Yost told Rustin Dodd of The Athletic and other reporters on Sunday. Yost added that both players could come back from their rehab assignments during Kansas City’s next series, which begins Tuesday. Perez suffered a Grade 2 MCL tear in his left knee on March 28, while Gordon has been out since April 10 with a labral tear in his left hip. Gordon got off to a woeful start (.174/.208/.217 in 24 PAs), as has his team, which entered Sunday with the worst record in the AL (4-15).
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Buchholz Pitching Well With Opt-Out Date Looming]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120381 2018-04-19T18:30:34Z 2018-04-19T18:30:34Z
  • The Royals assigned minor league signee Clay Buchholz to Double-A after he showed well in extended Spring Training, tweets MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan. Buchholz, who missed nearly all of the 2017 season following surgery to repair a flexor tear in his right forearm, tossed 4 2/3 shutout innings with one hit, two walks and five strikeouts in the first of what should be multiple rehab outings. Flanagan reminds that Buchholz has a May 1 opt-out date in his deal, however, so Kansas City could have to make a call on the longtime Red Sox righty before too long. With Nate Karns on the disabled list and Eric Skoglund struggling through his first two starts, there does appear to be room to fit Buchholz into the mix in Kansas City.
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