The Kansas City Royals have reached the midway point of the season and are facing a crossroads. On one hand, they can focus on rebuilding for next season and merely limp through the rest of the year while praying for a .500 record at best. On the other hand, they can push to get some talent on this team by the trade deadline and try to make something of the season.
Royal fans will stick by this team regardless of what’s ahead. The last few years have been rocky, but fans have been waiting patiently for the Royals to find their footing. And despite being a part of Missouri’s sports scene, the Royals have a large fanbase across the midwestern USA.
Neighboring states without an MLB team of their own root for the Royals, like Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas and Iowa. With legal sports betting taking off, we have seen a lot of Royals betting action in these states, especially in Iowa where there are now 10 sportsbooks operating. At this point, everyone's watching to see how the team will finish this season out.
The Midway Point For The Royals
The Royals entered the midway point of the season as #26 in the power rankings and dead last in the AL Central. At moments throughout the season the Royals looked promising, but June was a disastrous month for the team. They were completely swept in a 3-game series against the Red Sox, lost another 3-game series against the Rangers, lost a 3-game series to the Tigers and so on. This team desperately needed the All-Star break to refocus and recuperate.
While their record would not suggest it, the Royals have had some moments to be proud of coming from the few talented athletes they have on their roster. First off of course is their catcher with the infectious personality, Salvador Perez. Aside from his duties on defense, he has also been a strong hitter this season with 21 HRs, 56 RBIs, and a .307 OBP. Perez also had a courageous showing at the Home Run Derby this past week when racked up 28 HRs in one round. Had he not been in the same bracket as defending champion Pete Alonso (35 HRs) he likely would have gone on to the last round.
Also deserving a nod is first baseman Carlos Santana. He is on a short 2-year contract with the team, but he is playing like he wants to be here long term. Santana has been credited with 15 HRs and 51 RBIs. However, his contract is expensive as it has been reported that he could earn $7 million in 2021. This means that he may be the next to go in 2022 when his contract expires if the Royals are looking to free up cap room.
The Trade Deadline
With the trade deadline looming, it could mean a few different things for the Royals. Whether or not they will look to acquire some new talent is up for debate, but the fact is they may end up selling some talented players off as is expected with their minimal playoff chances. In this scenario, who would the Royals be looking to part with?
First off, rumors are circulating that pitcher Danny Duffy is expected to be traded away this month. The left handed pitcher is now 32 years old and was laid off for a month with a forearm strain from May to June. If he is healthy, he may be of interest. Duffy does have veto rights at this point in his career, but why wouldn’t he look to move on to a better team? It’s likely that the native Californian would be open to a trade with the Dodgers, Giants, or Padres, and these teams are all playoff bound at the current moment.
Also being discussed are the two outfielders, Michael Taylor and Jarrod Dyson. Both have played well in their time here and could provide some long term value for the Royals. The message would be clear here, sell off the few pieces they can manage to part with and focus on next season, which is what most analysts are expecting.
With most analysts expecting the Royals to just cash in by the trade deadline and look to next year, fans can at least be content with the exciting games we have ahead of us. At the end of July, the Royals will have a 3-game series in Toronto against the Blue Jays. It will be a battle of Guerrero Jr. versus Perez in their own Home Run Derby.
On August 6th, the Royals will face off against the Cardinals in a 3-game Missouri pride match that is sure to be worth checking out. The team will also face the Astros in a 4-game and 3-game series in August and these will be exciting games with the way the Astros have been playing lately.