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MLB Kansas City Royals

Kansas City Royals’ Top 5 Trade Assets

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Kansas City Royals Top 5 Trade Assets

royals
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals are in a different position this All-Star break than they have been in past seasons. They are in serious striking distance of the first-place Detroit Tigers in the American League Central.

Sitting just five games out of fist place in the division, the Royals have a legitimate shot to win the division, but do they have the firepower that the other teams have? They don't have the stars that the Tigers have, and the Cleveland Indians seem to be built for a long run as well.

This may be the first year that the Royals may contend for a title in years. I'm not sure that a World Series is in their near future, but they are definitely one of the best young teams in baseball.

Kansas City is one of those pesky teams that will keep fighting until there is no fight left in them, which is rare and usually only happens at the end of the season. They continue to be the thorn in the side of the Tigers, beating them on a regular basis and staying within striking distance of the top spot in the division.

With one of the top-10 pitching staffs in baseball ERA-wise, the Royals have the pieces to make a run to a Wild Card or division title. They need some offensive help as they rank toward the lower end of baseball when it comes to runs and batting average.

Alex Gordon has a .292 average, which isn't bad, but is kind of low as the team leader. Billy Butler is usually the team's top player, but he's having a pedestrian season under his standards with just eight homers, 49 RBIs and a .270 average.

These players needs to step up if they want to lead this team to the playoffs for the first time since 1985 -- the same year they won their only World Series.

Who are their top trade assets that could provide the most trade value?

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Luke Hochevar, RP

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

A former starter in the Royals' rotation, Luke Hochevar has found a home in the bullpen. His 2.16 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 33 innings is sure to draw some interest from teams with weak bullpens.

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4. Ervin Santana, SP

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Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Ervin Santana has been the best pitcher on staff for the Royals this season. The 30-year-old starter has a 5-5 record, a 2.90 ERA and 94 strikeouts to go along with a solid .226 batting average against. If the Royals are still in contention come the trade deadline, I doubt they'd give up their best starter.

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3. Greg Holland, Closer

holland
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

I couldn't begin to tell you how many teams are looking for a solid closer. This position is in demand and Greg Holland is one of the best in MLB at what he does. The 27-year-old has a 1.80 ERA with an unbelievable 15.43 strikeouts per nine innings. That has contributed to his 22 saves.

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2. Salvador Perez, C

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Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Salvador Perez is easily one of the best young catchers in all of baseball. He's just 23-years old and can hit for average with a little pop in his bat. Perez is hitting .292 with four homers and 36 RBIs this season while playing some solid defense, throwing out 12 runners at catcher.

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1. Eric Hosmer, 1B

hosmer
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

This list is full of untouchable guys, and here is the most untouchable of all -- Eric Hosmer. The young first baseman was one of the Royals' top prospects for years and he's now their starting first basemen. They could surely get a lot for the 23-year-old, but I don't think they'd be willing to give up his .283 average, nine home runs and 39 RBIs.