The Royals sit just three days before Christmas having only made a handful of transactions this winter, still leaving them with major holes to fill off their championship ballclub. The club still has to find starters for both left- and right-field, although they have indicated they may fill one role internally with Jarrod Dyson. The club is negotiating to keep Alex Gordon, although reports have the two sides far apart. Other free options are still in play, like Denard Span and Gerardo Parra, and the club has been connected to Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez and Boston's Jackie Bradley Jr. in trade rumors.
Even if the Royals retain Alex Gordon, they may want to look for a low-cost option to fill right-field. One team they may want to turn to as a trade partner is the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers have a crowded outfield, withome combination of Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, and Joc Pederson starting. Behind them, the Dodgers have many young, cost-controlled outfielders that could be expendable. They also have great bullpen needs, an area the Royals have depth they could part with. Kelvin Herrera would be the most attractive trade chip the Royals have to offer, but Danny Duffy could also bring a lot of value, with Luke Hochevar bringing less in a trade. Here are some outfield trade options from the Dodgers that may make some sense for the Royals.
Scott Van Slyke
Van Slyke appeared to be a better trade option last winter, after he came off a season hitting .297/.386/.524 in 246 plate appearances. The son of former big league outfielder Andy Van Slyke, Scott regressed quite a bit this year, hitting .239/.317/.383, but still managed decent numbers against left-handers with a line of .258/.386/.398. Van Slyke has plate discipline, with a walk rate of 10.3% over 708 career big league plate appearances.
He has decent, albeit not great power with an ISO of .167. Van Slyke has good defensive metrics in left field and is capable of playing passable right field as well. His right-handed bat would fit in well considering how the Royals struggled against left-handers. Van Slyke is cheap, not becoming arbitration-eligible until next year, and won't reach free agency until 2020. He's not young - he's already 29 years old, but the St. Louis-native has a career .858 OPS against lefties and could at the very least serve in an effective platoon.
Trayce also big time bloodlines as the son of former NBA player Mychal Thompson and the brother of Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson. Thompson made his Major League debut in 2015, appearing in 44 games with the White Sox before being dealt to the Dodgers this winter in the three-team Todd Frazier deal. Thompson was a second-round pick by the White Sox and has shown a nice blend of power and speed, with 20/20 potential as a centerfielder. However he has also shown little plate discipline, striking out 26% of the time with a 6.6% walk rate.
He hit well once he was promoted to Chicago this year, hitting .295/.363/.533 in 133 plate appearances with five home runs. His walk rate surged with the White Sox to 9.6% while he cut down on his strikeouts, although there are small sample size issues. Thompson is 24 years old, so his ceiling is not high, but he has power and speed, which the Royals will love, and his right-handed bat could fit in the lineup well.
Enrique "Kiké" (pronounced KEE-kay) Hernandez is already with his third organization, getting dealt by the Astros to the Marlins to the Dodgers in 2014. He was terrific in his first season with the Dodgers, hitting .307/.346/.490 with seven home runs in 218 plate appearances. Hernandez has some positional versatility, playing second base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions.
Hernandez doesn't have a stand-out tool, but does lots of things well. He was a solid contact hitter in the minor leagues, with a low strikeout rate of 12%. The native Puerto Rican brings a goofy attitude to the clubhouse that should mesh well with the existing personalities. Hernandez wasn't much of a prospect until 2014, so there is the possibility he could fall back to earth, but with his low cost, positional versatility, and high contact, he could be a valuable player on the Royals.
Guerrero was a Cuban defector who signed a four-year, $28 million deal with the Dodgers in October of 2013. Since then he has been a bit of a headache for the Dodgers. He showed great power in AAA with 15 home runs in 65 games for Albuquerque in 2014. But while there he engaged in an altercation with teammate (and former Royals catcher) Miguel Olivo, that ended in Olivo biting off part of Guerrero's ear.
Guerrero exercised a clause in his contract that required him to be on the big league roster in 2015, and his hitting was a bit of a disappointment. He hit just .233/.261/.434 in 230 plate appearances with 11 home runs, but just seven walks. Guerrero was signed as a second baseman but his defense was poor there so he was moved to third base and left field. His defensive metrics in left field have been subpar in limited action, so that, coupled with his off-the-field behavior would make him an unlikely target for the Royals. The Dodgers would also likely have to eat some of his contract or swap a bad contract with the Royals to move him. On the other hand, Dayton Moore has taken chances on malcontents like Jose Guillen, and he traded for hothead Milton Bradley once, so anything is possible.