The Royals announced today they have sent pitcher Kevin McCarthy down to Omaha and will announce a corresponding roster move on Friday. With the July 31 trade deadline just days away and the Royals connected to several players, the move just fuels even more speculation as to what the team is up to.
There were reports today the club was “making progress” towards a deal for Blue Jays pitcher Francisco Liriano. Perhaps a deal is all but done, and the Royals are waiting on a pending physical to announce the deal. Or perhaps there is another trade in the works that is nearly completed, since the Royals typically keep things close to the vest with few leaks.
As far as internal options, the club also announced that Cheslor Cuthbert (wrist) and Paulo Orlando (fractured shin) had setbacks in their rehab from injuries, so they will reset their rehab assignments and continue in the minors. Jorge Soler makes the most sense to return to Kansas City, although the club said they wanted him to get regular at-bats, and it is unclear he would get that with the big league club. Soler was in the starting lineup for Omaha on Thursday night.
Billy Burns was demoted on July 22, and by rule, must spend ten days in the minors before being recalled unless he is replacing an injured player. Terrance Gore and Raúl Mondesí have both missed the last few weeks with injuries. Hunter Dozier is also out with an wrist injury and has yet to begin his rehab. Catcher Cam Gallagher might be a consideration if Salvador Perez is still suffering from some lingering tightness that kept him out of the lineup Wednesday. MLB.com reporter Jeffrey Flanagan reported he is traveling with the club as a precaution. Other position players on the 40-man roster include first baseman Samir Duenez and outfielder Bubba Starling.
It seems unlikely they would send McCarthy down just to bring up another pitcher. Jake Junis started for Omaha on Thursday night and Eric Skoglund pitched the night before. Miguel Almonte pitched just three innings on Monday. Kyle Zimmer left his outing with a trainer earlier this week, although it sounds like he will be okay. Richard Lovelady is a left-handed pitcher that has skyrocketed through the system and could be a reliever in the Royals’ pen, but he would have to be placed on the 40-man roster, knocking someone else off.
The Royals did add Trevor Cahill to the roster yesterday, sending Brian Flynn to Omaha. Perhaps the Royals are just being dramatic about their promotion for Soler, but there could be another trade afoot.