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Royals have valuable assets to sell at Deadline

@FlannyMLB
July 10, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- The second season of the Royals’ rebuild again has experienced plenty of hard knocks. Though there have been many positives -- such as Whit Merrifield making his first All-Star Game, Adalberto Mondesi and Hunter Dozier having breakout campaigns, and Alex Gordon having a career season -- the

KANSAS CITY -- The second season of the Royals’ rebuild again has experienced plenty of hard knocks.

Though there have been many positives -- such as Whit Merrifield making his first All-Star Game, Adalberto Mondesi and Hunter Dozier having breakout campaigns, and Alex Gordon having a career season -- the wins simply aren’t coming yet.

The Royals are 30-61, but they have led in 61 of their games. They were 27-68 at the All-Star break in 2018.

“We’re playing well a lot of the times,” Merrifield said, “but we’re just not winning games.”

With two highly-rated Drafts, the Royals believe the next wave of talent will get here by 2021, when they expect to be competitive again. In the meantime ...

Current status: Seller
Any player with an expiring contract will be attempted to be moved. The Royals were in a similar position last season at this time, though they already had traded Jon Jay and Kelvin Herrera for prospects then.

It’s somewhat surprising the club hasn’t made any deals yet, but to be fair, the rental players have not performed well enough to attract many offers.

What they are seeking
Prospects. Prospects. Prospects. The Royals, by all industry standards, have done a solid job of fortifying their depleted farm system through the Draft and through trades in the last two years. And they will continue to do so in the next three weeks.

What they have to offer
The Royals do have some pieces that could help contenders. Right-hander Homer Bailey's numbers (7-6, 4.80 ERA) might not be eye-popping, but he has been more than serviceable, and he could be a solid lower-rotation addition for a contender. Bailey’s velo is hitting 94-95 mph and his splitter is still effective. And he knows how to pitch. The best part is that Bailey would essentially be free. The Dodgers are picking up his contract, and any trade partner would only have to pay less than half of his MLB minimum salary. He is a bargain.

Catcher Martín Maldonado has to have some value. A tremendous defender who won an American League Gold Glove Award in 2017, Maldonado has become a weapon at the plate in the last 19 games since making an adjustment in his stance -- nine doubles, three home runs and an .895 OPS. He will attract suitors.

Outfielder Billy Hamilton has the speed and defense to help a contender. He’s likely not an everyday player candidate, but he could be a valuable weapon off the bench for a contender.

Left-hander Jake Diekman should be better than his numbers (0-6, 5.20 ERA) and pro scouts will see that. He has a 97-mph fastball and a wipeout slider. He may not be a late-inning guy for a contender, but he can be useful to someone’s bullpen in the sixth or seventh inning, according to several scouts. There’s just too much talent there to say no.

There has been some local chatter about the Royals possibly moving Merrifield or Gordon (who as a 10-5 player has right to veto any trade) or even Jorge Soler, but that simply won’t happen. So ignore those rumors.

Possible scenario
The first contender with an injury to a catcher will be hot on the trail of Maldonado. The Royals know that. They also know that Hamilton (and even Terrance Gore) could be a sweet weapon off the bench for contenders. It would be surprising if Bailey’s resurgence doesn’t find him a home in New York, Boston or Oakland, or even his old home, Cincinnati.

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