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Report: Royals 'Could Be Very Busy’ With Four Key Trade Pieces

The Royals' possible trade deadline moves are beginning to get clearer and clearer.

The 2022 MLB trade deadline is a week away as of the publishing of this article, which means teams have a very finite amount of time to make moves to improve in either the short or long term. For the Kansas City Royals, their window of contention (or even near-contention) didn't open this season and as a result, they're expected to be major sellers at the deadline. 

There are several members of the Royals who make sense to be moved, and some are more likely than others. In a recent report for ESPN, insider Jeff Passan emptied his notebook in a trade primer with scoops on the latest news involving some of the hottest names on the market (subscription required). This list featured Kansas City left fielder Andrew Benintendi, but Passan lumped relief pitcher Scott Barlow in as a headlining trade piece as well. Here's more of what he had to say:

In the public eye, Benintendi's trade value might have taken a shot when he missed the trip to Toronto because he has not received the COVID-19 vaccine. But that hasn't stopped teams from pursuing him, alongside Kansas City's other top trade chip: reliever Scott Barlow.

Benintendi is hitting .317/.387/.398, with his batting average sixth among all qualified hitters in baseball and his on-base percentage 11th. He's an excellent left fielder. And the calculus of teams -- even AL East teams with games left in Toronto -- is that for whatever they might lose from Benintendi in that short period, he brings far more in the games he can play.

The Benintendi logic has been laid out time and time again on just about every Royals and Royals-adjacent outlet. Barlow is also a prime candidate, as he boasts a 1.93 ERA and remains a borderline elite reliever despite having some slightly underwhelming peripherals this year. If packaged with Benintendi, the Royals could certainly elevate their return from something solid to something tremendous. Those two should be the 1-A and 1-B of the club's trade assets this summer, but there are a couple more that Passan touched on as well:

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Another unvaccinated Royal who's very available: utilityman Whit Merrifield, who is expected to be moved before Aug. 2 after Kansas City avoided doing so for several seasons. Among Benintendi, Merrifield, Barlow and right-hander Josh Staumont, the Royals could be very busy. 

Merrifield is another player who many others have also considered likely to be traded. Following his comments after being placed on the restricted list earlier this month and maintaining such a terrific level of play in July, it simply makes sense for the club to move off its 33-year-old jack-of-all-trades. Seeing someone like Passan putting it as clearly as "expected to be moved," though, brings a new reality to the situation.

Staumont saw his velocity tick down late last week but bounced back in a scoreless inning on Monday, so perhaps his value has held flat and he truly is a legitimate piece ahead of next week's deadline. Either way, Passan's report goes to show just how creative the Royals can get if they choose to do so by August 2.