Piccolo: Royals don’t need to be aggressive on trade deadline

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Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals, Kansas City, MO. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffman) Walks back into the dugout after striking out against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game on Wednesday, June 8, 2022.

AP

After the trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the New York Yankees last week, Kansas City Royals general manager JJ Piccolo didn’t seem like an executive ready to meet the deadline for the rest of the Major League Baseball trade.

That was true on Monday, when Piccolo struck two deals, acquiring left-handed pitcher Anthony Missiewicz from the Seattle Mariners for a cash consideration and trading third baseman Emmanuel Rivera to Arizona for right-hander Luke Weaver.

But Piccolo also left open the possibility of the Royals holding onto the rest of their players.

The deadline for MLB teams to execute trades is Tuesday at 5 p.m. Central Time. The Royals are nearing the end of a transitional period with their roster.

“The players we have left have years on their contracts, so we don’t have to be aggressive,” Piccolo said last week. “… I think it will be interesting. I don’t know where it will go. It’s not a bad thing if the players on this team are with us next year.

“It really is a matter of whether we can use these players to grow our team or organization. And that will be determined by the level of interest and competition that can exist for any one player to achieve.”

The Royals have promoted a large group of their top home players to the majors, such as shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., catcher MJ Melendez and first basemen Vinnie Pasquantino and Nick Prieto, as well as pitchers Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch, Chris Bubic and Jonathan. Hesley. Looks like the Royals have a core group to build on for the future.

In theory, this lets the Royals trade players who may be coveted by competing teams in the run for the playoffs and/or players who may be free agents in the near future and not be part of the Royals. when their youth corps is in its prime.

Royals players who are reportedly trade targets or have been the subject of trade discussion include:

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Royals pitcher Scott Barlow (58) wins as he dismisses Cleveland Guardians Miles Straw in the 9th inning of the season opener on Thursday, April 7, 2022 at Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City. The Royals won, 3-1. Tammy Ljungblad tljungblad@kcstar.com

relief pitcher Scott Barlow

The Royals’ Pitcher of the Year last season and is the most reliable member of their bullpen in terms of both production and durability. Entering the game on Sunday, he (with Baltimore’s George Lopez and New York Yankees’ Clay Holmes) made 40 or more appearances, four wins or more and 15 or more saves.

Six out of Barlow’s team-high 16 this season have come in situations where he has recorded at least four outs. It paired him with former Royals pitcher Lopez to make the most of such saves this season.

In 44 appearances (47 2/3 innings) this season, Barlow has posted a 2.45 ERA, with 46 strikeouts, 1.07 WHIPs and a .218 opponent’s batting average.

He is in control of the team until the end of the 2024 season, arbitrable.

Infielder/Outfielder Whit Merifield

The two-time All-Star has started at every position on the field except shortstop, catcher and pitcher. He is a former MLB Hits Champion as well as a Stolen Bass Champion. His Iron Man streak of 553 games ended earlier this summer, but he has been remarkably durable.

Merrifield, 33, has a team-friendly contract that runs until next season with an option year in 2024.

After starting the season on a slow offensive with a slash line of .135/.177/.164 in the first 26 games, Merrifield is looking like his typical self in the last 68 games and has dropped .280/.333 . /.415 during that period.

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Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Josh Stomont throws during a baseball game against the New York Yankees in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, May 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffman) Reid Hoffman AP

Relief pitcher Josh Stomont

One of the toughest throwing pitchers in the majors in recent years, Stoumont has made five appearances since coming off the injured list on July 15 (neck strain).

In 34 appearances this season (30 2/3 innings), he has recorded 4.11 ERAs with 35 strikeouts, 1.53 WHIPs and a batting average of .223 opponents.

His four-seam fastball average this season is 96.2 mph, while his sinker averages 97.2 mph. During the pandemic-less 2020 season, his average fastball velocity reached 98 mph (four-seamer) and 99 mph (sinker).

Stomont, 28, doesn’t reach his first year of salary arbitration until next season.

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Kansas City Royals’ Michael A. Taylor bats against the Houston Astros during the fifth inning of a baseball game on Sunday, June 5, 2022 in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffman) At Reid Hoffman AP

Center fielder Michael A Taylor

A Gold Glove winner at center field who last season rated as one of the top defensive players at any position in the Majors, Taylor has arguably enjoyed his best offensive season this year at age 31.

Taylor entered 74 games this week with a slash line of .278/.348/.394. He was also tied with Cleveland’s Miles Straw for the most defensive runs saved (eight) of any center fielder in the Majors. He finished fifth among center fielders in the Defensive Metric Ultimate Zone rating.

Taylor signed an extension at the end of last season that runs through the end of the 2023 season.

This story was originally published 1st August 2022 at 1:00 pm.

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Lynn Worth covered the Kansas City Royals and Major League Baseball for The Star. A native of the Northeast, he has covered high school, collegiate and professional sports for The Lowell Sun, Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin, Allentown Morning Call and The Salt Lake Tribune. He has won awards for sports facilities and sports pillars.

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