They're not dead yet in either the division or wild card races—sitting 5 1/2 games back in each—but the Royals are in transition, with core players like outfielder Lorenzo Cain, first baseman Eric Hosmer and third baseman Mike Moustakas all pending free agents whom the team likely won't be able to re-sign long term (though the way they're playing…).
With lefty Danny Duffy out six to eight weeks due to an oblique strain, selling seems the more likely route. Fellow starter Ian Kennedy has an opt-out after this year, but his performance to date (5.12 ERA, 5.43 FIP) looks a lot more like his 2013 to '15 struggles (84 ERA+) than his resurgence from last season (117 ERA+), his first year in Kansas City. Shortstop Alcides Escobar (.186/.212/.236) is a change-of-scenery candidate, at best. On the other hand, lefty Jason Vargas (2.39 ERA, 3.22 FIP) has pitched his way into being a significant trade chip.