Bold predictions and hot takes mixed with positivity are typically my go-to content when writing articles like this, but the Royals have worn out most of the positive vibes we had for this summer; it’s sad but true.
Barring one of the biggest turnarounds in Major League Baseball history, the Kansas City Royals will not be making the playoffs this season. That’s not breaking any news by any means, but the trade deadline is approaching and the Royals should be sellers.
A few days ago, outfielder Michael A. Taylor was removed from the game and #HugWatch started trending on Twitter in Kansas City. Taylor wasn’t traded at that moment (he left the game with a sore wrist) but It’s that time of year. Plenty of Royals have the potential to be dealt, including Taylor who is with the team on a one-year deal.
Another outfielder, Jorge Soler, has been playing better since the All-Star break and there’s a possibility a team could be willing to take a chance on him. A power hitter who just a few seasons ago mashed nearly 50 home runs. There’s always going to be some intrigue around players like that.
Another player that could be intriguing to potential playoff contenders is pitcher Danny Duffy. No one wants to hear it, this is Mr. “Bury Me A Royal” himself. However, it could be reasoned that the Royals could deal him and bring him back in the offseason since Duffy will be a free agent after the season ends.
There is one issue for the Royals trying to deal Duffy and it is the injury history. He is currently riding his second stint on the injured list and that will scare most teams away. If Duffy can be healthy and dealing in October, that’s all that really matters for teams looking to use his services to help win them a World Series ring.
Yes, it would be a bummer to lose Duffy, but getting some prospects back for the chance to rent him to a playoff contender would be worth it.
Whit Merrifield is obviously the most high-profile name that gets swirled around in trade rumors. He’s on a team-friendly deal and would bring immediate flexibility, consistency, and speed to a contender’s lineup.
Will Royals general manager Dayton Moore jump ship from his own brand of holding onto players he loves on a personal level and potentially move on to get a return before the deadline? Only time will tell. At this point, the Royals look to be at least two years away from being a playoff contender.
The Royals have some very fun prospects who are settling in at Triple-A Omaha including first baseman Nick Pratto and top prospect Bobby Witt Jr. These two could be up with the big league squad by September. Witt is almost a lock to push his way to Kansas City sooner rather than later. An inside-the-park home run was an early indicator of that.
Pitchers Jackson Kowar and Daniel Lynch have looked great in Omaha but looked terrible in their limited time at the big league level. They’ll need time to adjust and get into a rhythm with their Kansas City teammates, but it won’t be surprising to see them back in the Royals rotation soon with Singer and Duffy on the IL.
The rest of 2021 and even the 2022 season will be all about the youth movement. Seeing the next wave of players come up together and watching how they grow through the ups and downs of a long baseball season will give us a glimpse into the Royals' future.
There is a lot of pessimism surrounding the team, but there can be optimism in the future despite some growing pains that will come with a young team. No one wants to hear “lookout for the Royals in 2023!” but look out for the Royals in 2023.
Hopefully, the team can make a couple of trades and get some prospects that could potentially help them during their next playoff window. Guys like Merrifield deserve a chance to play for a contender and the Royals should capitalize while they can to help the team gain for their future.