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Ranking the 2022 Royals Who Are Most Likely to Be Traded

With the deadline quickly approaching, the Royals have many candidates to be moved.

The 2022 MLB trade deadline is going to be here before anyone knows it, as the August 2 cutoff doesn't leave clubs with much more time to finalize whatever trade packages they've been working on over the past several weeks. For the Kansas City Royals, they project to have as much activity at this year's deadline as just about any team in baseball.

Despite coming into the season with high hopes, those dreams have been extinguished over the last few months and this version of Kansas City is left scrapping for wins down the stretch of an otherwise lost season. With that said, several young players have managed to stand out thus far and others could be on their way to doing so if moves are made elsewhere.

The Royals have a ton of candidates who could be dealt within the next week, so let's rank them in descending order from most likely to be traded to least likely to be traded.* 

*No insider information went into these self-generated odds; they're strictly based on publicly-reported information and context. All stats are valid entering Monday's play.

1. Andrew Benintendi

If there's one thing the Royals can be counted on to do at this year's deadline, it's move outfielder Andrew Benintendi. Not only was the All-Star garnering significant trade interest before the break, but his lack of COVID-19 vaccination isn't enough to hold clubs back from inquiring. Benintendi is posting a career-high 126 wRC+ this year and while his power numbers are underwhelming, he gets on base at a terrific clip, plays a competent left field and is a professional hitter in nearly every sense of the phrase. Any contending team that needs a polished bat should be making a serious push for the left-handed Benintendi. This move seems like a mortal lock.

Odds of being traded: 95%

2. Whit Merrifield

Whit Merrifield is far from the player he was in his prime, as he isn't hitting at a good enough clip and his defensive ability is mildly diminished (along with his athleticism). With that said, he's heating up at the right time and boasts a .347/.407/.592 line with a 181 wRC+ in the month of July. This is similar to what Carlos Santana did earlier this season, and the Royals struck while the iron was hot and moved their aging infielder to recoup what they could. That, combined with Merrifield's contract situation and his recent comments in regards to wanting to play playoff baseball so desperately, very well could see him land on a team that allows him to do it. 

Odds of being traded: 75%

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3. Michael A. Taylor

Now that he's seemingly recovered from a minor shoulder injury and a brief stint on the restricted list (like both players above), Michael A. Taylor is back to being a prime trade candidate. The 31-year-old isn't replicating his 2021 success in the field but luckily for him, he's made a massive improvement and is having one of his best years at the plate. Taylor's 10.2% walk rate and 113 wRC+ make him a potentially valuable addition to a playoff team, and Kansas City would be wise to move him. It remains to be seen whether the club would be comfortable with moving two outfielders, though, so the odds here will be a coin flip. 

Odds of being traded: 50%

4. Scott Barlow

Scott Barlow has been one of the more underappreciated relievers in all of baseball over the last few years, and he's kept on ticking this year. His 1.97 ERA in 452/3 innings is the best of his career thus far, although his 3.61 FIP is his worst. Barlow has flirted with danger this season and isn't quite as outright dominant as he's been in the recent past, and his age (will turn 30 in December) gives the Royals every incentive to part ways with him while they can. He can truly elevate a trade package if combined with someone else, but the rumblings surrounding him haven't been nearly as loud as the aforementioned trio. Let's give Kansas City a third of a full shot at actually cutting ties with Barlow this summer. 

Odds of being traded: 33%

5. Hunter Dozier

Depending on how you look at it in the batter's box, Hunter Dozier has been the Royals' second-best hitter this season behind Benintendi. Depending on how you look at it in the field, Dozier has been one of Kansas City's worst defenders this season. Positional versatility is praised by some as his calling card, although playing multiple positions poorly doesn't mean that it equates to a net positive. On the bright side, Dozier has bounced back in 2022 following an injury-riddled 2021 campaign and could be a productive bat in any lineup. It doesn't seem as if the Royals will move him, but they also don't seem particularly attached to the 30-year-old. 

Odds of being traded: 25%

The rest: Josh Staumont, Brad Keller, Amir Garrett, Nicky Lopez

Each of these players comes with some advantages and disadvantages. Josh Staumont is an electric bullpen arm at his best, but his recent downtick in velocity makes his current profile a bit iffy. Brad Keller will be a free agent after next season and can provide middle-of-the-rotation value for a good club, but nothing more than that. Amir Garrett hasn't enjoyed a great deal of success this season but is a power lefty arm with the ability to dominate in short spurts when he's "on." Nicky Lopez seems rather unlikely to be swapped, as he's a prototypical Royals "gamer" who has also emerged as a clubhouse leader this season. He'll probably stick around and offers more to Kansas City than he would for most other teams.

Odds of being traded: < 25%