The July 31 trade deadline has come and gone with the Royals being one of the most aggressive teams, picking up four players - outfielder Melky Cabrera, and pitchers Trevor Cahill, Brandon Maurer, Ryan Buchter. The Royals were said to be still looking for another starting pitcher and maybe a utility player leading up to the deadline, but they never found a deal to their liking.
However it is not too late! Although the “trade deadline” has come and gone, teams can still make deals.
It's that time of year again folks, to have the revocable waiver process condescendingly explained to us— Large Adult Runs (@ericmichel) August 2, 2017
Yes, yes, if you already know the process because we explain it every year, go ahead and scroll down to the players the Royals could acquire.
So basically every player in baseball gets placed on waivers in August, but before you panic, it is not the typical waivers that Chris Young and Al Alburquerque were subjected to earlier this year on their way out of town. Players in August are placed on “revocable waivers”, meaning if another team claims them and the Royals don’t want to give up that player, they can revoke the waiver. Already the Tigers have placed Justin Verlander on revocable waivers, the first step in an attempt to trade him.
If the player is claimed and the Royals do want to work out a trade, they can work one out ONLY with the team that claimed him. They have two business days to work out a deal, otherwise the Royals must let the team have him or revoke the waiver. It is not very often the team just let’s the claiming team have the player, but it has happened before, most notably when the Blue Jays let the White Sox take on Alex Rios and his enormous contract in 2009.
If the player clears waivers, meaning every team has passed on him, then the club can work out a trade with any team they want. This is how the Royals acquired Josh Willingham in August of 2014. Players that clear waivers are typically players on bad contracts, or older, lesser players that no one wants to claim. So if the Royals want to make an August deal, it will probably have to be for a less-than-desirable player, although they may still have usefulness as Willingham did in 2014.
Got that? Here are some of the players the Royals could be interested in August that may clear waivers.
Dickey has already been placed on revocable waivers. The 42-year old knuckleballer has a 4.01 ERA and 4.92 FIP in 21 starts for the Braves this year. Dickey is a groundball pitcher, nearly hitting 50% on his groundball rate. His walk rate is the highest of his career since 2009. However if the Royals need someone to give them innings, Dickey is a good workhorse. He has gone six innings or more in 16 of his 21 starts this year. And as a knuckleballer, he can pitch whenever he is needed, allowing the Royals to rest other pitchers if the staff becomes thin.
The Royals were linked to Estrada in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline, and despite a disappointing season there are some doubts he would clear waivers. Estrada was a 3.0 WAR pitcher as recently as last year, according to Fangraphs, but has regressed this year with the Blue Jays, posting a 5.19 ERA and 4.38 FIP. His strikeouts are significantly up, with over a strikeout-per-inning, but his walk rate is the highest of his career. His changeup has gone from being one of the most effective changeups in baseball to one of the worst this year. Estrada is an extreme fly-ball pitcher, who has been prone to home runs this year, and he is eligible for free agency this winter.
Santana pitched for the Royals in 2013, and after a brief setback in his career with a suspension for banned substances, he has enjoyed a nice tenure with the Minnesota Twins. Santana has won 12 games for Minnesota with a 3.28 ERA, although a 4.81 FIP. Santana has been very BABIP-lucky with a high left-on-base mark, suggesting he could regress soon. Santana has seen his flyball rate increase sharply this year, which has given him longball problems. Santana has a $14 million club option for next year that turns into a guaranteed vesting option if he throws 73 1⁄3 innings the rest of the season. That option could make Santana more likely to clear waivers, and with the Royals having waiver priority claim over some other contenders, they could put a claim in for his services.
The Padres are tearing the club down for the future, so it was surprising they held onto Chacin, an impending free agent. The right-hander has had a decent year with a 3.99 ERA and 4.26 FIP with 7.4 strikeouts-per-nine innings. Chacin has had the second-best slider in baseball this year, according to Fangraphs. He is on a very cheap contract this year - he is owed just $1.75 million for the year - so he would easily fit in the Royals’ payroll. The Royals already made one deal with the Padres, could they make another to add to their pitching depth?
If the Royals are looking for a utility player that can play all over the infield, Jed Lowrie could be an attractive player. Lowrie has shown pop with the Athletics this year, hitting .270/.347/.442 with 10 home runs in 103 games. Lowrie is a switch-hitter with experience at second base, shortstop, and third base, allowing him to fill in anywhere on the infield for the Royals. There was little interest in him in July, so perhaps the Athletics would be willing to take whatever they could get for the impending free agent.
Phillips is not pleased with having to move to third base in Atlanta to make room for prospect Ozzie Albies and could be moved this month. The 36-year old is in the last year of his contract and has been praised in the past for his leadership qualities, a trait the Royals should find attractive. Also attractive is he can still hit a little bit, with a line of .288/.331/.430 with eight home runs in 96 games. Phillips could play second, allowing Whit Merrifield to play more of a utility role, or Phillips could play the utility role, filling in at second and third on occasion, giving the Royals another bat off the bench.
Others: IF Erick Aybar, IF Cliff Pennington, IF Luis Valbuena, IF Mike Aviles, RHP Andrew Cashner, LHP Hector Santiago, LHP Derek Holland, RHP Scott Feldman