Many expect the Royals to be sellers at the July trade deadline, but they may also be looking to add pieces for the future. Over the weekend they acquired outfielder Brian Goodwin from the Nationals, and now Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports they may be interested in adding Mariners first baseman Ryon Healy as well. According to Passan, the Royals are “poking around” on the 26-year old who is hitting .244/.274/.466 with 20 home runs in 82 games.
Healy began his career with the Athletics but was traded last off-season for pitcher Emilio Pagan and infielder Alexander Campos. He has shown good power in his brief career, smacking 25 home runs last year with Oakland, but he also has the sixth-lowest walk rate in the past three seasons for all players with at least 1,000 plate appearances. His 3.8% rate puts him around Royals free-swingers like Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez.
Healy is capable of playing third base, where he was underwhelming defensively. He has struggled a bit learning first base, moving across the diamond to make room for other players. Current Royals first baseman Lucas Duda will be a free agent this winter, leaving the Royals with only inexperienced candidates at first base next year like Hunter Dozier, Ryan O’Hearn, and Frank Schwindel. They may seek a more experienced bat like Healy to throw into that mix.
First base for the Royals system this year has been rough pic.twitter.com/rLWQhRR5Wg— Shaun Newkirk (@Shauncore) July 23, 2018
The Mariners are currently in second place with a record of 60-40 and in a push for their first post-season appearance since 2001. But with Robinson Cano set to return from his suspension on August 14, General Manager Jerry DiPoto has suggested Cano could see time at first base with Dee Gordon remaining at second base. That may make Healy more expendable, although the Mariners may prefer to keep him around for depth purposes, at least until the season is over.
The Royals are looking to rebuild this season, but the acquisition in Goodwin and the interest in Healy may suggest they would like to accelerate their return to contention. Healy would not be eligible for free agency until after the 2022 season. If that is the case, that could decrease the odds of second baseman Whit Merrifield being dealt, despite reported interest from the Brewers and Red Sox.