We’re gonna have to face some harsh realizations:
- The Royals are bad; they should probably be better than they are, but they aren’t.
- The idea of a soft rebuild was fun (while it lasted?) but it’s probably not a possibility anymore. It’s time to embrace the concept of a hard rebuild.
- A hard rebuild means there will be some bad(er) baseball ahead.
- A hard rebuild also means the trading of players, some being harder to see leave than others.
That all being said, let’s take a look at some of the players the Royals could use to add to the growing wave of talent for the future. For trade simulations I used the Baseball Trade Simulator along with some references to the MLB Pipeline Prospect Rankings (although I would also like to point you to the Royals Farm Report Draft Guide that has their updated Royals Top 10 prospect rankings).
Here’s where we left off after a tough trade of Whit Merrifield:
The next move involves veteran backstop, Martin Maldonado. I think the best fit for his seasoned resume is the Texas Rangers. Right now, the Rangers are 1 game out of the AL Wild Card. They also have the worst defensive rating in the league according to Fangraphs. In fact, they have the worst defensive rating for the catcher position by far. Their are currently rocking a -8 rating while the second worst team, the White Sox, are at a -2.1. That rating could be overlooked if their catchers were producing at the plate. That’s not the case. Their catcher position has been good for 40 wRC+ this season. Maldonado is not known for his bat. Like at all. But even he has a 60 wRC+ this year. Adding him would improve both sides of the game and on both sides of the plate. So...all four sides of the game plate.
*Remembers home plate has five sides.*
Maldonado would improve all five sides of the game home plate of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club of 2019 Arlington, Texas.
But wait, there’s more!
Another big need of the Rangers is a solid left handed relief pitcher. WE HAVE ONE OF THOSE TOO!!!! Right now, the Rangers LHRP have a .369 wOBA vs. left handed batters, which is the second worst in the league. Enter Jake Diekman. When Diekman is going good, he’s great, especially against lefties. Up to May 31, he had a .185 wOBA against lefties in 9.1 IP. Since then, he’s been at .507 wOBA but in just 1.2 IP. He hasn’t been super sexy lately, but he’s still useful and can improve that potential Texas Wild Card bullpen.
That all being said, let’s package them up and ship them to Texas.
SS Chris Seise, RHSP Tyler Phillips, LHRP CD Pelham, RHRP Demarcus Evans, and C/1B Sam Huff
There’s not a lot of high profile guys in there, but there are some potentially useful tools. Let’s start at the top and work our way down, shall we. Let’s shall.
A great fielder with a strong arm and big speed with average to above average hit tools and questionable plate discipline? Yeah that’s a Dayton Moore M.O. Seise has some really solid upside and could potentially move to third if he’s blocked by Nicky and Adalberto in his ETA season. Even then, there will be plenty of competition in present players (Gutierrez, Cheslor, Dozier), guys I’ve already traded for (Neuse), and recently drafted studs (Witt, McConnell). Still, prospect depth is never a bad thing.
Another big fella with groundball tendencies but with control. His stuff might not blow the doors off, but seems like a good bet for a mid-rotation guy. The system already has some solid depth at starting pitcher, so if he’s pushed out by the big guys (Puk, Singer, Lynch, Kowar, Bubic) pitching is still the currency of baseball, so having excess at SP is a great thing.
A lefty that throws 99 mph with “unpredictable life” and a mid 90s cutter sounds like a lot of damn fun in the bullpen. It seems like he continues to struggle to harness it, but if he were to figure it out, he could become a solid back end contributor or ,at worst, a lefty specialist. I’ll roll those dice.
Along the same lines as Pelham and very similar to Josh Staumont, Evans could be another flame thrower in the backend in the future. That 27/1 K/BB ratio Pipeline spoke about is VERY intriguing but with control being a concern, that’s probably a mirage. Still, the tools are there and I like tools.
Huff hits dingers and dingers are sexy. If he’s able to continue to progress behind the dish, he could become a very interesting guy. Even if he goes to first base, that power will keep him on the radar similarly to Chase Vallot. In the end, he might be Frank Schwindel but we’re here for lottery tickets.
Trading Diekman and Maldonado will likely only bring lottery tickets into the system, so this haul might not be realistic (Texas might not be buyers at the deadline), but it’s within bounds of the exercise and I think it adds tools and depth to a rebuilding system.
Where does that leave us?
Honestly this trade might not have a ton of impact considering the lottery ticket-ness of it. Pelham and Evans could be bullpen weapons for the future. Seise, Huff, and Phillips might be depth pieces at the end of the day due to better options and be traded during a contention window. In the short term, in would require the Royals to add a catcher to the 40 man roster to finish the year out. Experience wise, that might be Andrew Susac. Performance wise, that might be Nick Dini. They could go ahead and pull the trigger on Sam Huff but I could see them stashing him to get as much work receiving as they can.
By popular demand disguised as constructive criticism, I’ve changed the red blocks to a lighter shade so your heads don’t explode trying to focus on reading the player name. I’ve also added Puk and McConnell to the future rosters as they’ll likely be keys down the road. Also I’ve added in a very rough guess at the team payroll at that time in order to indicate a possible free agent addition window.
There are more moves to come.