Inbox: Who Might Royals Move at Deadline?

Inbox: Who Might Royals Move at Deadline?

Daily Clips

June 29, 2018


Inbox: Who might Royals move at Deadline?

Beat reporter Jeffrey Flanagan fields Kansas City fans' questions

June 28, 2018By Jeffrey Flanagan/

Bonifacio returns to Royals from suspension

Infielder Goins designated for assignment

June 28, 2018By Jeffrey Flanagan/

Jorge Bonifacio is back from suspension. Can he help Royals' historically bad offense?

June 28, 2018By Maria Torres/KC Star

How Alex Gordon staved off his career decline with a vintage defensive season

June 28, 2018By Rustin Dodd/The Athletic


5 int'l prospects to watch from AL Central

June 28, 2018By Rhett Bollinger/

With a knack for the spectacular, precocious Khalil Lee is moving up rapidly in Royals system

June 28, 2018By Vahe Gregorian/KC Star

Round Rock Roll to Sweep over Omaha, 7-2

Chasers drop 4th straight; return home for big holiday weekend series Friday

June 28, 2018By Omaha Storm Chasers

Oaks, Schwindel Garner PCL All-Star Nods

Triple-A All-Star Game set for July 11 in Columbus, Ohio

June 28, 2018By Omaha Storm Chasers

Naturals Drop Return To Missions, 7-2

Infielder Jecksson Flores went 3-for-4 with a solo home run in the loss to San Antonio on Thursday

June 28, 2018By Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Offense and Garabito Shine in Win

Six Run Sixth the Difference for Blue Rocks

June 28, 2018By Wilmington Blue Rocks

Lexington Snaps Streak Led by Melendez 3-Run Homer

June 28, 2018By Lexington Legends

Royals Fall to Yankees in Series Opener

Quiet offensive night for Burlington leads to second straight defeat

June 28, 2018By Burlington Royals


Amidst disturbing destruction in Kansas City, Buck O’Neil’s message still shines through

June 28, 2018By Joe Posnanski/The Athletic

‘It looks like Uranus is off tonight’: An oral history of the Mariners’ Turn Ahead the Clock Night

June 28, 2018By Corey Brock/The Athletic

The Royals have no center fielders. The Omaha Storm Chasers only have center fielders.

June 28, 2018By Tony Boone/Omaha World-Herald

Red Sox acquire OF Pearce from Blue Jays

June 28, 2018By Ian Browne/

Freshman Kevin Abel pitches Oregon State past Arkansas to win College World Series

June 28, 2018By Matt Eppers/USA Today

June 29, 2018 •


Inbox: Who might Royals move at Deadline?

Beat reporter Jeffrey Flanagan fields Kansas City fans' questions

June 28, 2018By Jeffrey Flanagan/

Roughly five weeks remain until the non-waiver Trade Deadline, and it's a sure bet the Royals and general manager Dayton Moore will be active as they continue their stated offseason goal of restocking the farm system and focusing on the rebuild.

With that in mind, let's get to this week's Inbox:

Tweet: Who do you expect to be dealt before the trade deadline?

The Royals are 30 games under .500, and certainly Moore and his staff do not want this team to be historically bad. But that shouldn't get in the way of the Royals dealing anyone they can to upgrade their farm system and push along that rebuild. The only player not likely to be dealt is catcher Salvador Perez, whom Moore has said simply wouldn't get big enough of a return to merit a deal.

But the Royals will listen to all other offers, and that includes Whit Merrifield and Danny Duffy. Logically, players on one-year deals are the most likely to be dealt. And that starts with Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar -- if there is a market for a defender who is showing he can play multiple positions.

Certainly the Royals will try to move Lucas Duda , Jason Hammel and possibly Drew Butera if a team needs a defensive-minded backup catcher. So much depends on other teams' injury situations. The Angels, for example, just lost Zack Cozart for the season. One would think they've already engaged in conversations with Moore about Moustakas, especially as the Angels continue to fall in the American League West.

And interestingly, if Wily Peralta shows he can handle the closer's role -- something I advocated starting back in Spring Training -- he might be an asset as well.

Tweet: What is the likelihood hood that we see Frank Schwindel playing for the Royals after the trade deadline? If so does he DH or 1B or both? He’s been on fire again. Any chance of seeing Ryan O’Hearn at 1B for the Royals?

I'm guessing you'll see Frank Schwindel at some point, and possibly Ryan O'Hearn, as well. Schwindel caught manager Ned Yost's eye in Spring Training, and he has been raking the ball lately. Neither player is on the 40-man roster, but after the Trade Deadline, several spots should open up. But it might not be until September that either player gets here. With Jorge Bonifacio coming back from the suspended list, Jorge Soler coming off the disabled list in August, Rosell Herrera showing promise in the outfield and the need to develop Hunter Dozier at first base, you only have so many position openings, even with the DH.

Tweet: Will Ned be back?

Yost has said repeatedly that he wants to return in 2019. I think he likes the idea of seeing the next phase of the rebuild through before handing over the duties to the next manager. He may even stay through 2020.

Tweet: Will Rosell Herrera get any look at CF soon?

Absolutely. And very soon.

Tweet: Where do you see MJ Melendez in this organization? Moore sees a fast track for him but it doesn't feel like Salvy is going anywhere.

That's really an interesting question. MJ Melendez, the team's No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, is only 19 and playing in Low-A Lexington. But the Royals believe Melendez's defense is superb, and he is showing power at the plate with 11 home runs and a .526 slugging percentage. Perez is 28. And if Melendez is ready for the big leagues in three or four years, Perez might be ready to do much more DHing.

Tweet: When will DM dip back into free agency or make a big move again to say we are competing again? Winter of 2020, 22?

Another good question. The offseason plan was to restock the farm system and bank some payroll to make some free-agent additions when the Royals are close to contending again. Obviously, the next two years will be challenging again in terms of wins and losses. But if all goes according to plan, and players like Bonifacio, Soler, Adalberto Mondesi, Dozier, Cheslor Cuthbert, Brad Keller, Tim Hill, Jakob Junis, Josh Staumont, Richard Lovelady, Trevor Oaks, Nicky Lopez and others all become a promising next core at the Major League level by 2020, and some of the college pitchers from this year's Draft rise very rapidly, perhaps by that winter Moore and ownership will dip in the free-agent market. That, of course, would be the absolute best-case scenario and is likely overly optimistic. But hey, you never know.

Bonifacio returns to Royals from suspension

Infielder Goins designated for assignment

June 28, 2018By Jeffrey Flanagan/

Royals outfielder Jorge Bonifacio returned from his rehab assignment and was reinstated from the restricted list on Thursday. To make room on the 40-man roster, infielder Ryan Goins was designated for assignment.

Bonifacio, 25, had been serving an 80-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Bonifacio likely will retake his starting job in right field. He hit .255 with 17 home runs as a rookie last season. He hit .392 with a .995 OPS in 13 games during his rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha.

Goins appeared in 41 games for the Royals and hit .226 with no home runs and six RBIs.

Jorge Bonifacio is back from suspension. Can he help Royals' historically bad offense?

June 28, 2018By Maria Torres/KC Star

The Royals are historically bad.

They are on pace to lose 110 games for the first time in club history and have performed at unprecedented levels in June in terms of batting average and runs scored.

But good news is on the way. Outfielder Jorge Bonifacio is done serving the 80-game suspension handed to him when he tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug Boldenone during spring training.

He joined the 25-man roster Thursday, recalled from a rehab assignment one day before the Royals were scheduled to start a three-game series in Seattle. To make room for him, utility man Ryan Goins was designated for assignment.

The Royals (25-55) are in desperate need of Bonifacio's bat. In a 5-19 June, the Royals' .190 batting average is the worst in baseball and the worst in a single month in franchise history. The latter distinction once belonged to the 1992 Royals, who batted .207 in 20 April games and scored 54 runs before finishing with a 72-90 record.

The team has scored 53 times in June, 25 fewer times than the Washington Nationals, who have scored the second-fewest runs this month.

The Royals have floated a number of patchwork solutions in recent weeks to provide the spark to a lineup that lost Jon Jay when he was traded to the Diamondbacks on June 6. Paulo Orlando was recalled in the immediate aftermath, but batted .156 (5 for 32) with 11 strikeouts and just two runs scored. When Jorge Soler, in the midst of a promising season, went on the disabled list after fracturing a bone in his foot, the Royals made a slew of roster moves to make up for it. Adalberto Mondesi and Rosell Herrera have driven in a combined nine of the Royals’ 21 runs dating to June 17.

But they haven’t helped stop the black hole that’s consumed the Royals’ offense, zapping it of its power and miring it in a stretch that has made this 2018 squad one of the worst Kansas City has ever seen.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” manager Ned Yost said after the Royals were held to three hits in a 5-1 loss to the Brewers on Tuesday in Milwaukee. “I’ve never seen an offensive drought like we’ve had all month long. It’s pretty puzzling. There’s no answer for it.”

Below are the worst offensive months in Royals history, sorted by runs scored and excluding months in which the Royals played fewer than 18 games. The 2018 Royals squad has earned an easy spot in franchise infamy.

March/April 1984 – 69 runs, .254 batting average

March/April 1990 – 67, .259

March/April 1985 – 64, .235

March/April 2017 — 63, .210

March/April 1992 — 54, .207

June 2018 — 53, .190

March/April 1969 — 50, .221

The list tells you two things: It’s uncommon for the Royals to score so infrequently and hit so poorly beyond the first month of a season; and when they have struggled, they’ve hit at a higher clip.

The numbers are alarming.

Meanwhile, in 13 games for Class AAA Omaha, Bonifacio has hit .392 (20 for 51) with five doubles, one triple and nine RBIs during the rehab assignment he was given in anticipation of his reinstatement.

Never mind that he’s not quite an established major leaguer, having played just 113 games in his rookie season last year and batted .255 with 118 strikeouts. The threat of Bonifacio’s burgeoning power — he clubbed 17 homers and knocked 15 doubles at the major-league level — would force pitchers to approach the Royals differently.

Bonifacio could be the offensive spark the Royals have been missing, not only in June, but all season. The Royals are last in baseball with 283 runs this year, on pace to total 573. Even the 1994 Royals, in a strike-shortened season, scored 574 runs.

Counting on a 25-year-old who missed the first 80 games of the season to reverse the Royals’ fate seems like a long shot.

Then again, the Royals’ offense has done nothing to inspire awe without him. They might as well give Bonifacio a chance to impress them like he did as a rookie.

How Alex Gordon staved off his career decline with a vintage defensive season

June 28, 2018By Rustin Dodd/The Athletic

One day​ in 2010, before he​ became an​ All-Star​ outfielder, before he​ signed​ the richest​ contract in​​ Royals history, before his career twilight became defined by that very deal, Alex Gordon found himself talking to catcher Jason Kendall.

Gordon was 26 years old then, his career delayed by a rash of injuries and uninspiring offense. Kendall was 10 years older, a grizzled former All-Star on his last loop through the game.

Gordon was frustrated by his batting average and burdened by his status as the city’s next George Brett. He had shifted positions, moving from third base to the outfield. He had weathered a broken thumb that spring and a demotion to Triple-A Omaha in the summer. Kendall could sense he needed perspective.

“He sat me down and said: ‘There are so many things you can do other than your at-bats during the game,'” Gordon says. “‘You can affect the game in so many ways.’ That kind of stuck with me.”

Eight years later, Gordon is no longer the four-time All-Star who collected Gold Gloves like bobbleheads and averaged more than 6.1 WAR from 2011 to 2014. His body barks more than it used to; his offensive numbers flatlined across the last two seasons; he had to pare down his usual regimen of weights after a hip injury landed him on the disabled list in April.

He is so old (34) that a friend and former teammate (Mitch Maier) is now his first-base coach. He has been around long enough that current teammates (Brad Keller and Adalberto Mondesi) were in grade school when he debuted in 2007. Yet on a recent morning in Milwaukee, Gordon sat at his locker and remembered the words of Kendall, now a special advisor with the club.

“I always took that to heart,” Gordon says.

He is no longer the player he once was, of course, no longer an All-Star nor difference maker. But at the age of 34, on a team destined for 100 losses, Gordon has found a way to pull out of a severe decline, posting his best half season since 2015. Following the Law of Kendall, he’s combined a modest increase on offense with above-average base running and elite defense. As a result, he is on pace to be worth more than two wins above replacement for the first time in three seasons.

“Just try to be a good all-around baseball player,” he says.

In some ways, it is a performance line that leans more toward tolerable than useful. A player worth two WAR can be useful on a contender yet less appealing on a bad team.

Still, it underscores how rare Gordon has become. At the age of 34, in his 12th major-league season, he remains one of the most valuable defensive players in baseball. In a sport where youth and athleticism usually translate to impressive range and strong defensive metrics, Gordon is something of an outlier: an aging player who has retained most of his value on the defensive side.

“It’s almost like a football player, like Ray Lewis,” says Maier, who played with Gordon from 2008 to 2012. “He’s not as fast as he was. But he still plays at a high level because he just sees It better; he reads it better.”

At age 34, Gordon is seeing it better than he has in years, on pace for his best defensive season since 2014. As a left fielder, he leads all defensive players in baseball in UZR/150; he also ranks fifth overall with 12 Defensive Runs Saved, trailing only A’s third baseman Matt Chapman, Reds left fielder Adam Duvall and Texas center fielder Delino DeShields. Among the latter group, Gordon’s age puts him in a class of his own. Among the top 10 players in baseball in Defensive Runs Saved, only Milwaukee’s Lorenzo Cain is older than 30. The only other 30-somethings among the top 25 are Joey Votto and Ian Kinsler, who rank 24th and 25th, respectively.

By almost all available metrics — and his known own admission — Gordon has lost a step or two in raw speed since his first years in the outfield in 2010 and 2011. Yet his range remains an asset in left field and his arm remains a bonafide weapon, cutting down base runners and coaxing many more to stay put. (Gordon entered Friday tied for fourth among all outfielders with seven assists. Since 2011, his 87 outfield assists lead all of baseball.)

What amazes Maier, though, is Gordon’s consistency — the ability to seemingly haul in every baseball hit his way. There is always a moment, Maier says, where the ball leaves the bat and he can instantly judge if the outfielder has a chance to make a play. If you think Gordon has a chance, Maier says, he’s going to make it. Sometimes he is coming in, diving headfirst. Other times he is sprawling to his left or slamming off the fence in deep left. In every instance, there is an act of creative body control, of latent instincts of which Gordon credits his days as a high school receiver.

“I think it’s just my angles out on the field,” Gordon says. “I might not be the fastest guy. But I feel like I make up for it with my routes to the baseball.”