The Royals have told other teams that they would be open to trading some of their veterans eligible for free agency at the end of the season such as Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Lorenzo Cain if the team struggles this year, according to New York Post writer Joel Sherman.
“We would have to consider it [a fire sale] if things do not go right,” Moore told The Post.
It remains to be seen how far the Royals would have to be out to entertain the thought of trading their core players however. They were two games below .500 in late July of 2014, but stood pat and made a run all the way to the World Series. Even last year, when they fell to six games under .500 in July the team stood pat, although they reportedly had discussion to trade Wade Davis. The team made a run in August, but fell short of a playoff spot.
The Royals have had some talks on a long-term deal with Hosmer, who is represented by agent Scott Boras. According to Moore, they are still having a “dialogue”, but according to Sherman, “there appears no serious negotiations ongoing to keep any of the walk-year core.” Previous reports had indicated the Royals were hopeful to keep one of two of their core players beyond this year.
Sherman also reports on some other notes from Royals camp, including that Raúl Mondesí is the favorite to win the job at second base, with the team hoping his bat can develop at the Major League level.
Mindful they lost lots of speed/athleticism in trading Dyson, #Royals leaning toward Raul Mondesi Jr. at 2b/living with some growing pains— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) March 12, 2017
Mondesí has had a fantastic spring, but it has been a small sample size, and many of his hits have come against AAA pitchers or back-end bullpen arms. He does bring exceptional speed and a reputation for a good glove. He is competing with Whit Merrifield, Christian Colón, and Cheslor Cuthbert for a starting job, all of whom have had an unexceptional spring. Ned Yost has indicated that whoever wins the job will probably split time with someone else. Complicating matters is that Colón and Cuthbert are both out of options, meaning they cannot be sent to the minor leagues without exposing them to waivers.
Sherman reports Nate Karns has emerged as the favorite to land the fifth spot in the starting rotation over Travis Wood. Karns struggled in his outing Sunday against the Dodgers, but has otherwise looked sharp. Wood has historically struggled against right-handers, and was exceptional against lefties last year out of the pen for the Cubs.
Sherman also writes that scouts have been unimpressed with the spring performance of Royals outfielder Jorge Soler, noting a weakness on breaking balls from right-handed pitchers.
“He has struggled a little more than you like,” Royals GM Dayton Moore said. “But he has worked really hard on his defense, and that is better than advertised and I think he has enough of a track record to believe he will hit.”
Soler is just 3-for-29 this spring with no extra-base hits and nine strikeouts. The Royals acquired him from the Cubs for Wade Davis last winter.