The first major trade of the winter was the Tigers acquisition of outfielder Mark Canha from the Brewers last week. But the Royals made an effort to acquire the veteran bat, according to a recent report by MLB.com writer Mark Feinsand.
Kansas City liked Canha’s .355 on-base percentage and the quality of his at-bats, as he ranked in the top 25% of the league in chase percentage, whiff percentage and strikeout rate. The Royals ranked 13th in the AL with a .303 on-base percentage, so Kansas City will seek to add at least one batter with on-base skills to help remedy that issue.
He writes that the A’s and Royals both pursued Canha before the Tigers ultimately acquired him for Blake Holub, a 25-year-old reliever in Double-A. The Brewers were simply looking to cut costs and get some value before having to making a decision on whether or not to pick up his $11.5 million club option for 2024.
The 34-year old Canha has been a patient hitter in his career with a bit of power, although it appears his home run totals are falling. This year he hit .262/.355/.400 with 11 home runs in 139 games between the Mets and Brewers, and was worth 2.2 rWAR. He is a below-average defender, but not an awful one, and he stole 11 bases in 12 attempts this year. He will be a free agent after next season.
The fact the Royals pursued Canha suggests they are looking for someone that can get on base and provide a bit more consistency than what they got last year from their younger players. In his end-of-the-year press conference, Picollo said that while most of the focus would be on pitching, the Royals would seek to add outfield production. The current roster has MJ Melendez, Edward Olivares, Kyle Isbel, Drew Waters, Nelson Velázquez, and Dairon Blanco as potential outfield candidates in 2024.