a��Over the next 30 days, I’ll look at 30 playersa��one from each teama��that I believe should be traded, but more along the lines of aA�a�?what ifa�? scenario. Some will seem obvious, just as others will seem nonsensical. Some may also seem desperate, but it’s important to understand that this list is entirely subjective and made up solely of notable names. A player can be deemed movable for any of the following reasons: production (or lack thereof), current and future team outlook, age, potential return value, salary, or even injury history.
When you’re the World Series champions, there often isn’t too much restructuring that needs to be done. Sure you’ll have the occasional holes to filla��in this case, three sizeable ones in the form of Alex Gordon, Ben Zobrist, and Johnny Cuetoa��but shipping core pieces is usually unnecessary.
Such is the case with the Kansas City Royals, where names like Eric Hosmer, Yordano Ventura, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez, etc… should be off limits.
Given Wade Davis’ dominance as a reliever over the past two seasons, he can be thrown into the a�?untouchablea�? category as well. Which is why it makes it all the simpler to part with Greg Holland (which was my first thought), who just turned 30 yesterday.
Or so it would seem, except that Holland underwent Tommy John surgery in early October, meaning it’s unlikely he’ll see the field at all in 2016. If he were a starting pitcher then it’d be much easier, comparatively, to move him along. But given the fact that he’s a relievera��though a good onea��there’s no sense in shopping him around this year.
So, where does this leave us? Let’s get creative here… how about shortstop Alcides Escobar?
I understand he’s one of the players that started it all back when KC traded Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers, along with Lorenzo Cain. I understand he’s well-likeda��ney, loveda��amongst Royals faithful and teammates alike, and I understand he’s coming off an ALCS MVP.
I also understand the likelihood of him being traded is quite lowa��perhaps entirely off the tablea��but let’s look at some numbers and discuss alternatives.
He’s only 28 years old (29 in December), plays shortstopa��Christian ColA?n (26), and Raul Mondesi, Jr (20; top prospect)a��reside behind him, and wouldn’t be a free agent until after the 2017 season (if KC picked up his option for $6.5 million).
The earliest in which ColA?n can hit the market is 2021, while Mondesi’s rookie status remains intact.
Escobar’s career offensive numbers aren’t breathtaking: .262/.298/.344, but he’ll knock plenty of doubles, swipe a handful of bases, and play solid defense. The fact that he’s young and inexpensivea��due just $5.25 million next seasona��makes him worth looking at.
Of course, if KC were to get anything somewhat substantial in return, it’d likely take a somewhat promising prospect to do so. And no, that somewhat substantial return would not be Miami Marlins pitcher JosA� FernA?ndez. After trading five prospects for Zobrist and Cueto to make their championship run, KC must be careful with their farm system going forward.
General Manager Dayton Moore understands that more than perhaps any other individual in the sport right now, and presumably wouldn’t rush to burn through the prospects he’s still got.
On the other hand, what about a package for 25-year-old Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna? Team owner Jeffrey Loria is reportedly open to trading the young man with considerable upside, stating he’s a�?disappointeda�? and a�?very much open to trading him.a�? We know what Loria being disappointed in you on that particular day usually means. Though, seeking pitching help for his services was mentioned as well.
Regardless of worrying about a potential return for Escobara��again, that’s not the point of this seriesa��moving on from him is something KC should certainly consider.
Those players I mentioned earlier: Hosmer, Ventura, Moustakas, Perez; there’s no reason any of them should be dealt this year, if anytime soon at all. They’re the defending champions, not in rebuilding mode. But Eski strikes me as the odd man out.
He was, per Fangraphs, a 3.3 WAR player back in ’14, and he’s still at the age when it’s possible that he’s capable of more of the same. While the offensive numbers could always be a click or two higher, a young, inexpensive, and reliable middle infielder is often a valuable trade chip.
Trading away Escobar may not rock the baseball world, but it would allow KC to begin replenishing their system with young, controllable talent.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs