After a prolonged sluggish start to the 2012 season—including MLB’s longest losing streak (12 games) during the young campaign—it might be time for the Kansas City Royals to start thinking about restocking the shelves in the farm system by trading some of the veterans that do not hold a place in the franchise’s long-term future.
With Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Danny Duffy and a throng of talented live arms in the bullpen having already landed in Kansas City, along with Wil Myers, Mike Montgomery and Jake Odorizzi knocking on the doors from Class AAA Omaha, the Royals’ minor league system is slowly losing its hold as one of the best in all of baseball.
While the MLB First-Year Player Draft will help in reloading its affiliates, the Royals can add players deemed more major league ready via trade, while making room for some of its promising young talent in Kansas City.
Here are three players that should be traded prior to the July 31 non-waiver deadline.
Off to a slow start in 2012 (.258/.305/.398 with three home runs and 11 RBI), Jeff Francoeur hasn’t quite been able to duplicate his numbers from last season even though he has made a good impression on the Kansas City Royals and its fans.
Deemed simply as someone to keep the seat warm for the Royals’ top prospect Wil Myers in right field, Francoeur does offer value to a club that is in need of a veteran presence and a cannon of an arm from the outfield.
While Frenchy is highly thought of in Kansas City, Myers’ bat is making it very difficult for Royals brass to keep him tied up in Omaha too long.
If there is any interest for Francoeur on the trade market, the Royals would be beside themselves not to take what they can get for him, creating a chance for Myers to spend the last two months of the season cutting his teeth against major league pitching.
While Bruce Chen has been the most consistent and reliable starting pitcher for the Kansas City Royals since coming to the team in 2009, he certainly can’t be viewed as an integral part of the team’s future, especially as the anchor of the staff.
The Royals have too many young pitchers on the cusp for there to be room for Chen. If general manager Dayton Moore is to bring in a hurler from outside of the organization, it will need to be someone that can be the ace of the staff, which Chen is not.
However, Chen does offer a dependable arm at the back end of the rotation of a team looking to maintain a division lead or make a push as the playoff chase heats up.
While losing Chen would be a blow to the on-field results and the team’s clubhouse, his favorable contract, recent track record, and character could bring back a decent prospect or two in a trade.
Although his implosion in a 5-4 loss to the Oakland Athletics on April 11 launched a 12-game losing streak for the Kansas City Royals, Jonathan Broxton has actually pitched quite well this season (eight saves, 2.16 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 11 strikeouts in 16.2 innings pitched).
Those are attractive numbers for any team looking to add depth to their bullpen for a potential stretch run. Luckily for the Royals, it seems that every team could use quality relief arms.
Losing Broxton in a trade would have little impact on the Royals, however, who feature one of the best young bullpens in all of baseball.
If Broxton can continue to pitch well, then only being signed through this season at a very manageable $4 million should attract buyers as the trade deadline approaches.