Trailing by 7 ½ games in the AL Central two months ago, Kansas City has shaved that deficit down to 1 ½ games entering this week and is effectively tied for the last wild-card spot. For walk-year players like first baseman Eric Hosmer, centerfielder Lorenzo Cain, third baseman Mike Moustakas, shortstop Alcides Escobar and pitcher Jason Vargas, that means not having to worry about apartment hunting for at least another few months—GM Dayton Moore isn’t about to pack everything up, not when his club is playing so well. The new collective bargaining agreement sets the stage for the small-market, small-revenue Royals to get multiple, valuable compensation picks should some of their free agents sign big deals elsewhere anyway.
If anything, Kansas City could make a moderate-sized deal in its push for the playoffs. The Royals rank dead last in the AL in park-adjusted offense, so adding even a league-average bat could lend a significant boost. And not to keep beating the same drum, but the Diamondbacks landing J.D. Martinez for a half-eaten donut bodes very well for any team that’s looking for offense. Getting Travis Wood and his extremely not nice 6.91 ERA out of the rotation forever would be a swell move too.