Time for Royals to Buy For 2017

The trade deadline in Major League Baseball is quickly approaching. After August 1st, teams can still make trades, but players must clear waivers first, meaning any team can put a claim in on a player before he is dealt. This rule means any impact players must be traded before next Monday’s deadline.

The Royals find themselves in a unique position this year. Coming off a World Series win, things have not exactly fallen into place for the 2016 Royals. After Monday’s 6-2 loss to the AL West cellar-dwelling Angels, the Royals sit at 48-50 and in fourth place in the AL Central. The Royals trail the Indians by 8.5 games for the division lead, and find themselves seven games back for the second AL Wild Card, chasing Boston and Toronto for the two playoff spots, while Houston, Detroit, the Yankees, Seattle and the White Sox are all ahead of the Royals for those two spots. That means the Royals not only would need to wipe out a pretty good deficit, they would need to pass six different teams to make the playoffs.

It doesn’t look good for the Royals to make the playoffs for a third straight year. Typically, this means it’s time to sell at the trade deadline. However, while injuries, starting pitching and the offense have all had the Royals just off their game, there’s still time to reload in this championship window for another run next season.

The Royals are in an odd position. Standing pat doesn’t seem right, because what they have at the moment doesn’t seem to be working. A full-on sale isn’t right because of the potential of 2017. And picking up a rental player for the rest of 2016 won’t work, because the Royals lack the pieces to bring in an impact rental and 2016 could be a lost cause anyway.

It leaves Dayton Moore and the front office in the position of listening to offers on anyone, but they’ll only move if a team meets their demands. The Royals have a high-asking price on closer Wade Davis, who is under control for 2017. The Royals reportedly want more for Davis than what the Yankees received from the Cubs for closer Aroldis Chapman. Edinson Volquez, Luke Hochevar and Kendrys Morales are all impending free agents after this season, and therefore would have lower asking prices in a trade. However, all three could net the Royals some help for the future.

Don’t look for the Royals to do much at the deadline. If they do anything, it will be with 2017 in mind and not 2016. The Royals still have a good core to build around for one more run in 2017 before needing to significantly retool for 2018 and beyond. Let’s see what magic Dayton can work in the next six days to build for the immediate future of the franchise.