Royals don't find good fits at Trade Deadline
Prices too high for Kansas City, which could pursue waiver deals
KANSAS CITY -- Dead quiet at the Trade Deadline. That was the Royals on Thursday as deals popped across the land but not in Cowtown.
"There weren't any players that we could get our hands on that would be upgrades over what we have," general manager Dayton Moore said after the mid-afternoon cutoff for non-waiver trades.
"It's important that our current group of players produce and we believe that they will. They haven't played their best baseball yet collectively, so that's what we have to count on and we believe it'll happen."
The Royals were linked in the murky and obviously unreliable rumor world with such hitters as Marlon Byrd, Alex Rios and Jonny Gomes and such pitchers as John Lackey, Bartolo Colon and Ian Kennedy.
"There was just nothing that really presented itself that we felt would work," Moore said.
Yes, the Royals did come close.
"We had several deals that we felt were executable, and it just didn't happen," he said.
The Royals were willing to trade Minor League prospects for players that could contribute immediately for a postseason push.
However, Moore found that mostly other teams also wanted players that could compete immediately in the Major Leagues.
"About two weeks ago just assessing what teams were looking to do, it was apparent that teams were looking to get Major League players back in return," he said.
Trades can still made in August, with certain restrictions, and Moore will keep looking.
"Absolutely," Moore said."There are always going to be opportunities. It's going to be a little more difficult to execute deals after the Deadline but certainly deals have been made in the past, and we'll continue to look for ways to improve our team. There'll be opportunities; we'll keep searching."
Now that the non-waiver Trade Deadline has passed, deals involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players already have cleared waivers. In other words, the player must be offered to the other teams in reverse order of the standings, and if he is claimed by one of the teams, he cannot be traded. The club that placed the player on waivers can either withdraw the request and keep the player, or let the player go to the claiming team, which would then have the rights to the player.
"We got [Emilio] Bonifacio last year like that and he helped us," manager Ned Yost pointed out.
The Deadline deal that surprised many observers was left-hander Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes going to Oakland and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to Boston.
"We didn't have a pitcher of that caliber that we were willing to trade to get a bat like Cespedes back," Moore said. "We've got to ultimately keep our pitching very strong and to give up a top-flight pitcher to get a position player like that back, I'm not sure would have worked for us."
Or as Yost put it: "We'd have probably had to trade our No. 1 [James Shields] and another piece, and that doesn't help us."
Moore indicated that any return the Royals might have gotten was not worth shredding a team strength like pitching, notably a top starter or bullpen backenders Wade Davis and Greg Holland.
The Royals apparently had some targets in mind themselves.
"We tried to be aggressive but if teams don't want to move those players, there's nothing we can do," Moore said.
The only deal the Royals made this week was sending third baseman Danny Valencia to Toronto for backup catcher Erik Kratz and Minor League pitcher Liam Hendriks.
Other trades came pretty close but ...
"You always get excited and it breaks down," Yost said. "In the end it was a lot of hard work and nothing happened."