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Royals setting steep price for Wade Davis in trade talks

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Could Lucas Giolito be in play?

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals are reportedly open to trading impending free agents such as Edinson Volquez, Kendrys Morales, and Luke Hochevar, according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, but they are apparently also engaged in talks on closer Wade Davis, who is not eligible for free agency until after the 2017 season. The Nationals are already reported to have interest in Davis, with the Royals asking for one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball, according to reporter Jeff Passan.

In one internal conversation, Kansas City was discussing possible destinations for Davis and considered the Washington Nationals, whose desire for a closer to replace Jonathan Papelbon would grow even stronger if they couldn’t get Chapman. With Davis under contract the rest of this season and for just $10 million next season, the Royals bandied about a potential target, according to sources: Lucas Giolito.

Giolito is a 2011 first-round pick who can touch triple-digits on the radar gun and recently made his MLB debut with the Nationals. He is a consensus top-ten prospect in all of baseball, and had a 3.08 ERA across three levels of minor league baseball this year, with 83 strikeouts in 84 2/3 innings.

Stark reports the Royals are looking for someone that can help them compete in 2017, not prospects that will take years to develop.

The Royals are setting a high asking price for Davis, which makes sense considering the massive haul the Yankees landed for closer Aroldis Chapman today from the Cubs. For two months of Chapman, the Yankees were able to receive shortstop Gleyber Torres, one of the top 50 prospects in all of baseball, outfielder Billy McKinney, the fifth-best prospect in the Cubs system, according to MLB.com, pitcher Adam Warren, who can compete for a starting rotation job, and outfielder Rashad Crawford. Jayson Stark reports the Royals are looking for even more.

Davis has the advantage on Chapman in that he has an extra year of control, so his new team could get a draft pick as compensation after Davis leaves. Davis has also had a better ERA this year and a better track record over the last three years, although Chapman has had much better strikeout numbers this season. Davis has had a drop in strikeout numbers this year and an increase in walks, and did recently have a stint on the disabled list.

Still, it makes sense in this market for the Royals to have high demands. There are several teams that could use bullpen help - Washington, Texas, Toronto, Cleveland. It has been a seller's market for relievers for a few years now, and the Royals could benefit from a run on elite closers.