It’s the second half of the Major League Baseball season and the trade deadline fast approaching, it’s always a fans interest to see what their team will do. Even fans of teams out of contention have something to keep them interested by wondering what stars of theirs will be traded for top prospects.
The Royals are currently stuck in no-man’s land. They’re sitting three games back of the Cleveland Indians and two games out of the second wild card. However, the also sit one game below .500. There are many factors that will play into what the Royals do in the next thirteen days. Here are some of them.
Getting out of their current slide, quickly:
The Royals have some very big names up for free agency after this season and some of the big market teams are salivating over Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, and Mike Moustakas. In turn, the Royals could get a lot of top prospects in return. Dayton Moore has made very clear they are not selling at the deadline. However, that could change if they start the second half the way they started the first and the Royals are in danger of getting nothing for them and they are out of contention.
The Royals overtake the Indians for first place in the Central:
The Indians currently lead the Central with the Royals in third by three games. If the Royals overtake them, they’ll be looking for starting pitching and bullpen help. Which leads me to my next factor…
What are the Royals willing to pay?
The Royals farm system is depleted after going all-in on 2015. The Royals currently have nobody on mlb.com’s Top 100 prospects list (though Raul Mondesi would qualify if he were considered a prospect). You’re not getting a top player without top prospects in return and Dayton Moore isn’t trading Mondesi. This leads to the next factor…
What is the goal of the season?
In 2014, the goal was to get back to the postseason and the Royals didn’t make any moves at the deadline. They got to the postseason and the rest is history. In 2015, the goal was to win the World Series and they went all-in, trading for Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist. They gave up some good prospects for Cueto and Zobrist, however, flags fly forever and it worked.
This is what the big question is, what is the end goal? Do the Royals have enough to make it to the postseason and win the pennant? If not, what do they have to give up getting there? If the goal is to get to the postseason, then they’re not going to make a big splash. If their goal is to get to the World Series, they’ll have to build a team to take down teams like the Astros and Red Sox (both of whom will be making splash trades). This means they’ll have to go for it this year at the expense of the next five years.
The good news is that once you’re in the postseason anything can happen (see Kansas City Royals circa 2014). They have a roster full of postseason experience and that cannot be underestimated. They have a better starting rotation than they did in 2015 when they won the World Series. It’s not a question of talent, it’s a question of what they want the end goal is.
I don’t see Dayton Moore making any big-name trades, however, I could see him going for an additional bullpen piece or a fourth or fifth starter. Look for the Royals to at least make a run for the postseason. I look for Dayton Moore to take a 2014 approach with these Royals. That means Royals fans should look more toward the waiver deadline than the non-waiver deadline. A lot can happen in thirteen days, these are just some of the factors the Royals face heading into July 31.
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