Royals likely to stand pat at Deadline

August 28th, 2020

KANSAS CITY -- Like most teams did to start this season, the Royals felt they had a legitimate shot at the postseason, especially in a 60-game sprint.

The bullpen was vastly improved, and the batting order seemed deeper with the return of from Tommy John surgery and with the addition of third baseman . And the rotation, the Royals believed, could hold its own.

But while the Royals probably have played better than their record, they still sit at 12-19. Manager Mike Matheny and general manager Dayton Moore still believe the Royals have a run in them, especially once they get Perez [blurred vision] back, perhaps by this weekend.

But as Monday’s Trade Deadline looms, do the Royals try to add a piece or pieces to make that run? Or do they try to move their three relievers with expiring contracts? The next few days will determine that.

And an important wrinkle to this year’s Trade Deadline is that teams can only trade players who are part of their 60-man player pool (assigned either to the big league team or the alternate site). Clubs are permitted to include players to be named later in trades, however. Additionally, scouts have not been allowed to attend games in person, so all assessments of prospects have been done based on provided video and data and past knowledge.

Buy/sell/hold: Hold. It really wouldn’t be fair to ask new owner John Sherman to add to the team’s payroll. Sherman, in his first year of ownership, decided not to cut Minor Leaguers or Minor League staff or scouts during the pause caused by the pandemic. So, odds are the Royals won’t be trying to acquire any Major League-ready talent. There are still plenty of promising young arms besides Brady Singer and Kris Bubic ready to make their debut in 2021 as the rebuild marches on.

What they want: Time. While the Royals were hopeful something inspiring might develop in 2020, the real plan has always been that the Royals would start to be competitive again in 2021, and then perhaps playoff ready by 2022. By then, prospects such as left-hander Asa Lacy, Bobby Witt Jr., Jackson Kowar and Daniel Lynch likely will be performing in the big leagues.

What they have to offer: Certainly any contending team would be interested in closer , who wowed the Royals so much in Spring Training that they plopped him on the 40-man roster back in March. And Rosenthal (3.29 ERA, seven saves) and his 100 mph heater have impressed during the season, too. There is some hope the Royals can sign the pending free-agent after the season, but his agent is Scott Boras, so Royals fans shouldn’t get their hopes up too high. Ian Kennedy and Greg Holland also will become free-agents and could be moved.

Chance of a deal: 25 percent. Sure, it doesn’t look promising for the Royals to make it to the postseason, not unless they go on a wild hot streak. But Moore isn’t likely to make a deal just for the sake of making a deal. Moore has hinted in recent days of holding onto his present group – he may be growing weary of flipping good players ahead of the Trade Deadline and getting in return only fringe prospects, which is mostly what you get these days for rentals. Yes, there’s always a chance a bidding war over Rosenthal could land the Royals something special, and in that case, Moore wouldn’t say no.