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Royals trade talks heat up at Meetings

Moore says club remains focused on winning in '17 and beyond
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- As the opening day of this year's Winter Meetings drew toward a close on Monday, Royals general manager Dayton Moore conceded he had been quite busy discussing potential deals.

"We've had a lot of conversations," Moore said from his suite inside the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel. "It's pretty typical. Nothing imminent, though."

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- As the opening day of this year's Winter Meetings drew toward a close on Monday, Royals general manager Dayton Moore conceded he had been quite busy discussing potential deals.

"We've had a lot of conversations," Moore said from his suite inside the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel. "It's pretty typical. Nothing imminent, though."

The rumor mill was fairly active, which also has been typical lately as the Royals near a curious crossroads: Seven players (Wade Davis, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, Danny Duffy, Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson) can potentially become free agents after the 2017 season, which is creating much interest from potential suitors.

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Speculation has centered around Cain and Davis. Several teams -- including the Cubs, Cardinals, and Yankees -- reportedly inquired about Davis, one of the game's elite closers.

Another Twitter rumor suggested the Royals and Cardinals talked about a potential deal that would send Cain and Davis to the Cardinals for second baseman/outfielder Kolten Wong and prospects. That deal would take $21 million off the Royals' books while Wong is owed about $23.25 million total over the next four years.

Video: Yost discusses Royals' urgency to win in 2017

Yet another report suggested the Royals might take offers on Dyson or Duffy.

As is always the case, Moore does not comment on speculation.

"There's nothing I need to say," Moore said.

While Moore is on a mission to either cut or at least contain payroll, he made it clear he is not about to have a fire sale this offseason.

"What we will do is consider all different scenarios," Moore said. "We're very focused on winning in 2017 and being in a better position in 2018 and beyond.

" ... but we've done enough work to this point that I can say directly, I don't anticipate us moving a bunch of our players."

The Royals' projected payroll for 2017 could be near $145 million, more than last year's franchise-record $140 million. That '16 payroll was leveraged against a deep postseason run which didn't happen as the Royals didn't make the playoffs.

Moore, if he can, is looking to move some salary while keeping the team competitive enough to vie for another title in 2017.

"We're going to continue to focus on winning in 2017 and beyond," Moore said. "We want to be a consistent winning organization. To do that, we're going to have to look at different things. We're going to have to be flexible in our thinking. We're going to have to continue to rely on our farm system, good scouting and player development.

"We'll have to keep looking at different trade options. We'll look at certain aspects of free agency that make sense. We also need to continue to study the economics of our situation."

That doesn't necessarily mean a deal will get done here this week.

"It doesn't have to," Moore said.

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

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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