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Inbox: How will Salvy's return impact Royals?

Beat reporter Jeffrey Flanagan answers questions from fans
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals have won two of three, somewhat easing a rough start to 2018. And there's a lot of ball left.

Let's get to your questions and concerns in this week's Inbox.

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals have won two of three, somewhat easing a rough start to 2018. And there's a lot of ball left.

Let's get to your questions and concerns in this week's Inbox.

Tweet from @thebsan: How much of an impact if any can Slavy have on the Royals pitching when he returns and is actually behind the plate. Specifically wondering about Duffy and the bullpen.

Salvador Perez's return will take place on Tuesday. Ned Yost brought up Perez's value again Sunday, reminding everyone what a major blow it was to lose Perez just hours before the home opener. Perez's impact on the staff is profound, and his presence in the middle of the lineup is even greater.

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Tweet from @jeffgates: Which outfielder is ent down when Gordon returns? A case is being made for Almonte to stay

The early guess was likely Abraham Almonte, who was claimed off waivers April 2. But Almonte has impressed the coaching staff and the front office primarily with his defense in center field (he has made numerous superb plays), and now his bat has started to pick up -- he hit a grand slam Sunday and has the Royals' two longest home runs this season, 426 feet and 425 feet. Paulo Orlando has a .459 OPS and has not played well defensively lately. Both have options, but Almonte appears to have earned a longer stay.

Tweet from @HondaDude7: your thoughts about Moose and his long term future with the Royals

The Mike Moustakas question is going to get more and more interesting the closer we get to the non-waiver Trade Deadline. The guess here is that Dayton Moore would be hesitant to flip Moustakas, at least until they had a sit-down about it. Yes, I can sense your eye-rolls, but keep in mind that Kansas City often operates with a little more compassion and sentimentalism than other teams do. Obviously, Moore must and ultimately will do what's best for the organization. Could that mean they sign Moose long-term? Possibly. Moustakas has grown into a formidable all-around offensive weapon, he's only 29, he has committed to his conditioning and most importantly, he plays to win. He's a presence in the clubhouse. But those same qualities could make him very attractive at the Trade Deadline as well. One more factor: Beyond Cheslor Cuthbert, the organization is not overflowing with third-base prospects.

Tweet from @ARSON911: How many games till trade value is reached for Jay, Duda, etc so we can get the kids playing?

In some regards, this team was constructed to flip at the Deadline. Guys like Lucas Duda, Jon Jay, Ryan Goins, etc., could bring some value in return if they are productive over the next two months. Kelvin Herrera has been lights out early in the season and likely would bring the biggest return. If the Royals are out of it by late July, deals will be made, and the final two months could be a lot of fun to watch as players such as Hunter Dozier, Raul Mondesi, Josh Staumont, Frank Schwindel, Ryan O'Hearn, etc., get a chance to show their potential up here.

Tweet from @eddievanhoglen: Bucholtz stay on 25 man roster after double header next weekend?

Clay Buchholz, who has looked terrific in extended spring camp and in his first two Minor League starts, won't be the 26th man because he is not on the 40-man roster. If he is added to the 25-man roster to start one of Saturday's doubleheader games, Kansas City will make an accompanying 40-man move, and he will be here to stay.

Tweet from @jediliz: Is salvy safe? I think there would be a huge backlash if he got traded

Moore told me repeatedly during the offseason that he doesn't believe the return he would get for Perez would merit trading him at this point.

Tweet from @JoshuaNeeley: With the Royals farm system being one of the worst in the league and not a lot of talent in the bigs, how long do you think this rebuild will realistically take?

The Royals bristle at the notion that their farm system is as bad as the rankings. Moore has pointed out there is a ton of talent in the low Minors, with prospects such as Khalil Lee, Nick Pratto, Seuly Matias, MJ Melendez, Michael Gigliotti, Emmanuel Rivera and so on. And Moore also points out correctly that guys like Moustakas and Eric Hosmer shot through the Minors fairly quickly. We could see many of those aforementioned prospects within two to three years.

Tweet from @rjlewis85: Has anyone heard from Ash Russell and where he stands on ever playing baseball again?

Right-hander Ashe Russell, 21, was Kansas City's first-round pick in 2015, but after an encouraging year of Rookie-level ball that season, he developed some confidence issues which escalated into serious command issues on the mound. He pitched briefly in '16 and then took '17 off as he contemplated his future in baseball. The Royals tell me Russell has resumed a throwing program in Arizona this spring and is working toward throwing some inning in extended spring camp eventually. They have not given up on him.

Tweet from @ItsReallyAllie: Is there any word or speculation on what���s being done with Maurer? Is he actually working on more control and constancy with his pitches or does he have more of an attitude problem?

It's a good question, but there aren't any major mechanical changes in store for Brandon Maurer. The Royals simply believe his issues can be resolved with a string of success at Triple-A and a much-needed boost of confidence. Maurer's stuff can be electric.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals