There are several MLB rumors floating around that the Kansas City Royals are willing to trade top prospect Wil Meyers for a top starting pitcher. Already, the Royals have been connected to Jon Lester, Jeremy Hellickson, and James Shields although talks between the Royals and Boston Red Sox haven’t really materialized and the Tampa Bay Rays have not had serious discussions yet about any of their starters.
Royals GM Dayton Moore is trying to make baseball relevant again in Kansas City. He has assembled a corral of good young position players from Meyers to Eric Hosmer to Mike Moustakas to Bubba Starling. The Royals lineup, if it matures as projected, could be one of the best in the game.
They also have a future ace in prospect Kyle Zimmer and another potential top of the rotation starter in Jake Odorizzi. Zimmer is still a couple of years away from making his MLB debut. Odorizzi, acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers as part of the Zack Greinke trade, could break camp with the Royals this season.
The Royals had hoped Luke Hochevar, the top pick of the 2006 draft would have developed into a top-tier starter but he has been one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball over the last couple of years, and posted the second worst ERA, 5.73, among all qualifiers last season.
The Royals brought in Ervin Santana in hopes that he can regain his old form. They also re-signed Jeremy Guthrie to a fairly large contract. Guthrie has been an enigma his entire career, owning dominating stuff but something has always prevented him from putting it all together. After coming to the Royals last season, Guthrie put up decent numbers, posting a 3.16 ERA and 1.32 WHIP while going 5-3 in 14 starts.
The Royals do have the hitters to trade but Wil Meyers should not be the bait. The Royals could do just as well putting Alex Gordon or Billy Butler on the market and getting a decent amount in return. They might not get the ace they are looking for but they could still get a top of the rotation kind of guy.
The best option for the Royals might just be bringing in free agents while biding time for Zimmer, Danny Duffy, Yorando Ventura, and Odorizzi to develop. Shaun Marcum, Dan Haren, and Edwin Jackson could all boost the Royals rotation and could fit the Royals budget. They could make a play for Greinke, trying to bring back their ace but he might be well outside their budget at this point.
The future looks bright for the Royals and trading a prospect like Meyers for a pitcher who might only be a Royal for a year or two. Both Lester and Shields are slated to become free agents after 2014. Hellickson has immense talent but is still an uncertainty and, if I were Moore, I would want more in return for Meyers.
The Royals should keep Meyers and Starling and go the free agent route instead. Years down the road they won’t regret it.