For reasons that escape me, the trade deadline,and the idea that the Royals will be sellers is met with excitement by some. Inevitably, we trade someone with limited time of "control" to a contending team for prospects that have little chance ever of contributing.
This year, when talking about which players have trade "value" our better players are always mentioned. Some of them have a year and a half to go, and already are under fairly reasonable contracts.I don't want to talk about player age and inevitable decay and so on, as some players can transition and play longer than others. For example Zack Greinke may be less fast than before, but he has four pitches that he mastered and would be a candidate to keep going. As is known some good players last into the forties.
A good team should sign its players if possible to extensions, not trade them . We are essentially trading building blocks for options for new bricks. For example, take Andrew Benintendi. Yes, we will lose control after 2022 and I understand wanting to get "something" in exchange. But we already gave something to get him (Cordero, Lee) and he is playing at a high level. If we cannot sign him, why did we trade for him in the first place? Which GM did that? Oh yeah...
Lets take another guy, Barlow, currently the only good pitcher in the bullpen, although there are others that throw hard. Barlow appears to have the stuff to be a stopper/closer (for you yung 'uns, in the 1970's we called them stoppers). So we get a one year average starting pitcher? How does that help? Why don't we SIGN AND EXTEND Barlow. Whit is under club control for three years. Besides being versatile , playing multiple positions, being able to field (at least at second base), to steal bases, and to lead the league in hits, Whit has a chip on his shoulder since he got to the big leagues later. We all know he will produce somewhere else if he is traded. His main value, is iron man. In an era when you only have 2-3 position players as backups, an iron man is golden, and to build a team around. Honestly, is Adelberto Mondesi even in a discussion about middle infielders?
There are times when trading a player is appropriate. I hated the Chiefs trading Tyreek Hill, the Cheetah, but they got a king's ransom and if they draft well, it has the potential to be a Herschel Walker type transformative trade with five picks received. If we got offered that kind of deal for any of our current players we ought to take it. If the Chiefs had the Royals strategy, we already would have traded Chris Jones! He is in his last year with KC probably the way his contract is set up. But we also have value in letting the players complete their contracts or at least go up to the trading deadline of their last year with the team. We could trade to dump salary, but only if we GIVE UP a good player (remember, Scott Alexander was a throw in to trading Joakim Soria, who never should have been signed in the first place? Certainly there is a price to dump salary). We are stuck with contracts that don't work out (Santana).
Plus we have done a poor job of player evaluations to say the least. We released Junis, who would have been our best pitcher, had he pitched for us the way he is pitching now, who was under club control at a good salary, to "make room" for the 2018 class that still is trying to figure it out. Maybe those guys will be the core of what comes next (all college players, at or above age 25). But then, why did we have to go out and ADD starting pitching after Junis? Why did we let go of Jorge Lopez who is now a closer in Baltimore? Our stinking coaches won't do any better with what they get in exchange. Can anyone argue that we have not only the worst rotation statistically in the league right now, but one of the worst in HISTORY? Ahh, potential. Saving face. Covering *ss. Whatever.
There is no honesty in talking about us being a small market team, when we have overspent on average or poor free agents/aging players and then hit a salary cap. We should not have signed them in first place!
We already have talked about blowing up the front office. We had a good owner, once. Ewing Kauffman. Mr. K was primarily motivated to win, and that made him better than the other owners. Glass wanted to have cheap merchandise, a la Walmart (beware Denver Bronco-ites who have a new Walmart owner), and Sherman is more motivated to fleece/blackmail Kansas City for a downtown stadium than to put a competitive team out. Note- KC always supported teams that were competitive, ask Whitey Herzog. Mr. K used to say "let's lose moneyh winning rather than lose money losing." Mr. K's formula was to hire good baseball people and get out of the way."
So which "good baseball people" are out there and available? Joe Maddon comes to mind. He has only taken two different franchises to the summit. He does want to manage. For a manager, the KC situation would be perfect because 1) it can't get worse 2) he would get hailed for the turnaround if it happens and 3) we supposedly have a lot of good young talent that could be developed and be able to play together for a few years..
We would have to change a lot of things to hire Maddon, but we could do some now and some at the end of the year. We would have different SMARTER discussions in the front office. But only if we get smarter front office people in charge.