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Could the Royals bring back Wil Myers?

If San Diego sends a prospect, could it be worth it?

San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

It may seem odd to see a hot stove season in March, but we are starting to see the trade market heat up as teams begin their spring training camps. Already teams are making moves, and the Padres could be looking to trade a few players as they look to avoid the new $230 million competitive balance tax.

According to MLB.com reporter Mark Feinsand, the Padres are aggressively shopping both first baseman Eric Hosmer and outfielder Wil Myers.

While a Hosmer reunion in Kansas City may be fun for nostalgia’s sake, with Carlos Santana already on the roster, and Nick Pratto and Vinnie Pasquantino waiting in the wings, it doesn’t make much sense to bring back the former Royals All-Star.

But the Royals might be able to find room for Wil Myers, who was once in the Royals organization as one of the top prospects in baseball. He may not have lived up to that reputation, but he has been a solid, above-average regular in the big leagues for nine seasons, with a career line of .254/.330/.446 with a 111 OPS+, and he earned MVP votes in 2020 after hitting 15 home runs in 55 games for a .959 OPS. Myers is 31-years old and could give boost to an offense that was third-worst in the American League in runs scored, while also providing more offensive protection for younger hitters like Bobby Witt Jr. and Nick Pratto.

What really hurts Myers’ trade value is his $20 million salary for 2022, and his poor defense. Despite having a decent bat, he has been such a liability in the field, that he was less than a 1 WAR player last year despite a 113 OPS+. So the Padres have two choices - they can agree to pay some of his salary to trade him, which doesn’t give them as much flexibility under the competitive balance tax, or they can agree to send a decent prospect to the acquiring club as compensation for paying all or most of Myers’ salary.

Would the Royals agree to take on most of his salary? The Royals have a projected payroll of about $85 million right now. Myers would put them over $100 million, which may inhibit their willingness to sign free agents. A really nice prospect or package of prospects may make it worth it, but we haven’t seen the Royals willing to essentially buy prospects in this way. Perhaps the John Sherman ownership group is more willing to take these kind of aggressive measures.

There is also the question of how Myers would really fit in the lineup. Despite a disappointing season, the Royals are committed to Hunter Dozier with a long-term deal. Either Myers or Dozier - both of whom are not exactly plus defenders in the outfield - could spend a lot of time at designated hitter, but the Royals would like to leave that spot open a lot for Salvador Perez to get days off from squatting behind the plate, plus there is the question of what to do with catching prospect MJ Melendez.

Adding Myers and even Hosmer with some prospects is kind of fun to think about, but ultimately it is hard to see how it makes baseball sense for the Royals right now.