The Kansas City Royals announced two transactions following the team's final road trip of 2021.
Michael A. Taylor reinstated from the bereavement list
Outfielder Michael A. Taylor returned from the bereavement list Tuesday, joining the team in Kansas City. The Royals moved Taylor to the bereavement list on Sept. 24, before the team traveled to Detroit.
The bereavement list allows "major league teams to replace players who must [be] absent themselves for a few days because of a death or serious illness in their family," according to Baseball-Reference. Players can spend anywhere from three to seven games on the list. MLB created the list in 2003, allowing players to still be paid and earn service time while being absent for necessary reasons.
The ITR staff wishes Taylor the best as he returns to the diamond. We hope he and his family are well following his time away.
Edward Olivares optioned to Triple-A Omaha
A common transaction in 2021, the Royals optioned Edward Olivares to their Triple-A affiliate, the Omaha Storm Chasers. He was recalled Sept. 24 as the corresponding transaction to Taylor going on the bereavement list.
This is now Olivares' eighth trip back to Omaha from Kansas City in 2021. His frequent trips back and forth have become a running joke amongst Royals fans.
Olivares did see action against the Detroit Tigers on Sept. 25, starting in center field. He logged two hits in three at-bats, improving his September batting average to .273. Olivares has four hits and two RBIs in his last seven games, spanning back to Sept. 10.
What does this mean for the Royals?
The return of Taylor may not move the needle much, but there are certainly positives. Defensively, he is one of the American League's top center fielders. Taylor's 11 outfield assists and .991 fielding percentage are both in the AL's top five amongst outfielders. Also, his 2.4 defensive wins above replacement (dWAR) are third in MLB. His .244 BA and .657 OPS in 2021 leave much to be desired offensively and will not change the Royals' outlook in the season's final games. Taylor has quietly been a positive player overall, despite his bleak long-term outlook in Kansas City. Look for him to finish the season in center field and leave it up to the masses to question whether he is a Royal in 2022.
Olivares is certainly no stranger to this move, something that is understandable and disappointing at the same time. The 25-year-old appeared in a career-high 39 MLB games in 2021, 28 of those after the All-Star break. A .238 BA is hardly encouraging, but he improved to a .744 OPS in the season's second half. 10 RBIs in 28 games is a good sign, averaging out to 58 RBIs over a 162-game span. Fan support of Olivares has certainly waned in recent months. Whether that can be attributed to his performance or his lack of staying in Kansas City is unknown. He was obviously a priority call-up in 2021 who could compete for a bench spot in 2022.