The Royals are red-hot right now, having won six in a row, and getting to face another easy week with the Twins and Mets on the docket. They have climbed to .500 now and I feel confident saying that if they have a six game winning streak every week for the rest of the year, the Royals will be right in this thing.
The winning has caused a shift in July trade deadline philosophy according to Danny Knobler, among others. The Royals, who were tentatively shopping Ervin Santana and Luke Hochevar around last week, have now said they likely won't be sellers at the deadline and won't trade either pitcher unless they are "overwhelmed." The Royals instead will seek to be buyers, although fortunately, they will focus primarily on players signed beyond this year.
One such player who could make a lot of sense is Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick. With a disappointing season and Albert Pujols possibly done for the year, the Halos are expected to go into firesale mode and Kendrick could be available tweets Jeff Passan.
Angels are now 13 games back and open for business. Sources say they're willing to listen on Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick and plenty more.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 29, 2013
Kendrick is hitting .299/.339/.446 with 11 HR 43 RBI, and is a liftetime .292 hitter with a 107 OPS+. He has been a consistent 3-4 WAR players the last three seasons and was named an All-Star in 2011. Kendrick just turned 30 and is signed through 2015, with a salary of $9.5 million in 2014 and 2015.
The price could be hefty in terms of prospects, but this would be an acquisition that could make the Royals much better not just this year, but in the next two seasons.
As far as comp trades, the closest I can think of was when the Marlins traded Dan Uggla - a different kind of hitter, but a second baseman with more than a year left before free agency. The Marlins dealt him for second baseman Omar Infante and reliever Mike Dunn. I suspect the Angels will hold out for more than that as they're not under pressure to cut costs.
Another example might be the recent Jed Lowie trade to Oakland, where he was dealt for Chris Carter, Max Stassi, and Brad Peacock. Lowrie is less proven then Kendrick, but much cheaper as well. Carter was a former prospect who had lost some luster, Peacock was rated a B- pitching prospect by John Sickels at the time of the trade, and Stassi was a C+ prospect. Using that as a barometer, a package of Danny Duffy, Cheslor Cuthbert, and Bryan Brickhouse doesn't strike me as totally unreasonable.