2021 MLB Trade Deadline Preview: Kansas City Royals

2021 MLB Trade Deadline Preview: Kansas City Royals

by July 23, 2021 2 comments

As the Chicago White Sox start to run away with the American League Central Division, the Kansas City Royals are falling to the bottom. The only team yet to win 40 games of the five, Kansas City is not exactly having a fun time. Once again, the trade deadline will be a disappearing act for many in the Royals’ clubhouse, as new prospects join the organization and veterans look to make a playoff push elsewhere.

Make sure to check out all of our other Trade Deadline Previews.

Current Position

Record: 39-55

Rank: Fifth in AL Central, 18 games back

Status: Sellers

This should not be even a mild surprise. While promising prospects like Brady Singer and Daniel Lynch are just getting their careers started, the Royals are not at a stage to supplement their prospects with major league talent. They are not a team that should be looking at just rentals, either. The Royals should be trying to deal players with term if possible, to maximize the return. There is not exactly a shortage of sellers this year, meaning that there will be a bit of sellers competition.

Trade Candidates

Danny Duffy, LHP, Royals

This is an interesting scenario in the trade market. Just a few days ago, Duffy hit the injured list with a left flexor strain. So, the price for an acquiring team could be reduced. The 32-year-old Duffy, a career Royal, Duffy is having a renaissance season after three rough years. Duffy has a 2.51 ERA through 13 outings. He also has a 9.6 K/9 and a 3.39 FIP. The Royals may have to eat a bit of the remaining money left on Duffy’s $15.5 million salary for 2021. After that, Duffy is a free agent. He could be a decent addition for relatively cheap. However, the oft-injured Duffy hitting the I.L. again is a concern.

Jorge Soler, OF/DH, Royals

Talk about selling low. After 2019, the Royals could have received a bounty for Soler. He had just hit a major-league leading 48 home runs, which is a Royals record. 2020 was an off-year, but Soler still had a 107 OPS+. This year? Woof. Soler may be the worst hitter in baseball this year. Sure, some bad luck has occurred, but Soler has been objectively terrible. He has hit just nine home runs in 87 games with a .612 OPS and a 67 OPS+. Plus, when he plays right field, he does not play it well. Soler can hit the ball hard, but his -1.8 bWAR is a major red flag. Will anyone buy low on the pending free agent?

Whit Merrifield, 2B/RF, Royals

Merrifield is one of those guys who is rumored in trades every single season and isn’t traded until five or so years after the first rumors started. Maybe this is the year? Merrifield earns just $2.75 million next year, followed by a $6.5 million club option for 2023. That is good team control. Roughly $10 million for two-plus years of Merrifield is a bargain financially. However, the prospect package better be high. Merrifield does things that the “Baseball Men” love. He racks up hits and swipes bags. Merrifield has twice led the league in hits and twice in stolen bases. This could be another year for the latter, as Merrifield has a league-leading 25 steals. If a team offers a good deal, the Royals might take a bite.

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