According to Danny Knobler at CBSSports.com, the Royals could confuse everyone at the trade deadline. They could be buyers and sellers.
Wrap your head around that.
As potential buyers, the Royals been looking at available pieces to add to their lineup. We know the Royals need help at second and in the outfield. Overall, the trade market on bats seems thin, with two names frequently mentioned - Alfonso Soriano and Alex Rios. Nothing exciting, but according to Knobler, the Royals are considering Rios.
Rios is an enigma, sandwiching a -1.1 fWAR season between years where he posted a 3.4 and 4.2 fWARs. Through 95 games this year, Rios has a 2.1 fWAR and is hitting .278/.333/.442 while providing solid defense in the outfield. As Knobler notes in his post, scouts report they are currently seeing a player who acts as if he doesn't care. Something that happened during the end of his time in Toronto. He was pulled from a game last week for a not running out a ground ball.
The 32 year old Rios is signed through 2014 with an option for 2015. His contract includes an escalator if he's dealt which pushes his 2014 salary to $13 million. His 2015 option would be worth $14 million with a $1 million buyout.
He's having a decent offensive season and by the end of the year, will certainly be worth his current $12.5 million salary. Fangraphs has his value at $10.5 million already for 2013. Last year, according to Fangraphs, he was worth $18.9 million. He represents an upgrade in the outfield over David Lough, but this is the deal for a contender to make. The Royals are not contenders. This team is eight games behind Detroit in the Central and is nine games out of the wild card. Baseball Prospectus gives the Royals a 0.9% chance of making the post season. Maybe I'm crazy, but those odds mean the team should sell.
The scary part of this potential trade is that Moore could use it as a way to position his team for 2014. While a contender with a hole to fill in the outfield could use a player like Rios for a short-term boost, it seems the Royals could do better for the $13 million it will take for Rios' contract next year. He can be a solid player, but his age and inconsistent performance over the last five years should cause a small market team to think before adding him to the payroll. Plus, the cost in prospects will be more than the Royals can handle.
Although we hear teams don't like to deal within their own division, but the White Sox have been the Royals most active trade partner in the Dayton Moore era, with the Royals GM making six trades with the White Sox since 2006. He sent Mike MacDougal to the Sox close to the deadline in 2006 for Daniel Cortes and Tyler Lumsden. In December of that year, he dealt Andrew Sisco for Ross Gload. In '08, he sent Horacio Ramirez to Chicago for Paulo Orlando. His most notable trade with the Sox was sending Mark Teahen to the South Side in November of 2009 for Chris Getz and Josh Fields. Moore also sent Gaby Hernandez and Greg Golson to Chicago in separate cash deals.