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Heyman | Royals are open for trade business

Jon Heyman



Oct 5, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) congratulates relief pitcher Kelvin Herrera (40) in the seventh inning of game three of the 2014 ALDS baseball playoff game at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won 8-3 advancing to the ALCS against the Baltimore Orioles. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals are said to be “quietly” letting other teams know they expect to have a “for sale” sign up soon. That is not to say trades are expected immediately, but Royals people appear realistic about where things stand.

They are currently vying to get out of the basement in the AL Central, by far baseball’s weakest division, and while no one can be considered buried in a division without even one winning team, they seem to have no illusions about contending this year. One person who’s spoken to Royals people suggests they could be “open to anything,” which means it won’t be just older veterans and players on the last year of their deals who will be considered for trade – though the Royals do have a lot of those.

“As you know, when a team isn’t performing as well as they’d like, it makes sense to be open-minded concerning trade scenarios,” GM Dayton Moore said by phone. “But I wouldn’t say we are moving quickly on the trade front.”

The Royals have some big pieces to dangle, starting with star closer Kelvin Herrera. But two GMs with competing teams offered varying opinions about the Royals’ group of available players, with one ranking it as solid and the other suggesting it won’t be as great as the names might indicate due to underperformance, and in a couple cases, salaries that aren’t low. The GMs both agreed that the most valuable Royals player likely to go is Herrera, who was briefly the hardest thrower in the game but has remained effective with the loss of a couple mph and has a history of coming up huge in big spots.

The Houston Astros, who have had a closer issue, have been speculated here as a possibility for Herrera, though he’d improve just about any contending team. Mike Moustakas is the second trade candidate who should bring something decent back considering his nice start and a reasonable salary following his tough free agency; but one of the two GMs suggested he wouldn’t bring a haul back due to the lack of demand for third basemen (though Moustakas is said to also be deft enough to play first).

If the Royals are indeed willing to consider non-free agents for trade, Whit Merrifield — who has shown to be a nice player, isn’t yet arbitration eligible and was discussed some over the winter — would bring back a nice return. Though one of the GMs said the Royals would “feel the need” to get back a haul for the well-priced Merrifield, which might make a deal for him unlikely.

One thing both GMs agreed on is that the Royals’ rotation, which has generally been poor this year, wouldn’t draw much of anything back, barring a turnaround. Danny Duffy’s salary, once seen as reasonable, is prohibitive based on his abject struggles this year. Ian Kennedy has pitched better, but his salary is seen as high, as well, and the same goes for Jason Hammel.

They could spin late-signing free agents Jon Jay and/or Lucas Duda, potentially, and they could bring back a prospect after the Royals signed them to fair, one-year deals. Jay is a solid defender who’s an on-base guy and Duda is a power threat.

Jon Heyman is an MLB Insider for FanRag Sports, featuring breaking news, information and his Inside Baseball column, which appears on every Thursday. Heyman also has been an insider at MLB Network since the channel launched in 2009 and is a regular contributor to WFAN in New York, where he appears weekly on the Joe and Evan Show and previously appeared on the Mike and the Mad Dog Show. He also appears on WSCR in Chicago, WBZ-FM in Boston and the Petros and Money Show on Fox in Los Angeles. Heyman comes to FanRag Sports from, where he worked for five years and wrote the popular Inside Baseball notes column. Before going to CBS, Heyman worked for five years at Sports Illustrated and, where he was a senior writer and started an Inside Baseball Column. Heyman worked for 16 years at Newsday in New York, where he was the Yankees beat writer, a baseball columnist and finally a general sports columnist. Heyman started his career at the Moline (Ill.) Daily Dispatch, then moved to the Los Angeles Copley Newspapers (Torrance Daily Breeze and Santa Monica Outlook) before going to Newsday. Heyman at one time also served as a national baseball writer for The Sporting News. Heyman is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. The Santa Fe, N.M. native grew up in Cedarhurst, N.Y., on Long Island.

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