Here we sit with just a weekend and a day between us and the trade deadline and there are questions about what the Royals roster will look like the next time we meet for Friday Notes. Mike Moustakas will almost certainly be in another uniform. He may already be dealt, depending on when you’re reading this. I’m not sure there’s a player on the team who is 100 percent sure to not be dealt other than maybe Salvador Perez, so it looks like it might be an exciting weekend for Royals fans as we inch closer to the end of this long season. But hey, at least they won a few games out of the break. Even though wins and losses don’t matter this year, it’s nice to have something positive to watch and talk about at least.
- I’m not sure how or why this started, but there’s a lot of discussion out there now about the role luck played in the Royals championship years. Luck or not, they won, so even though I’m a process over results guy, sometimes the results are all that matters, which is the case here. The 2014/2015 Royals taught me two things that I think are very important as I continue to watch and cover baseball, and these are two things I will never forget. The first is that clubhouse chemistry does matter. I don’t think it’s massively vital or anything, but it matters. Sometimes good chemistry comes from winning, so it’s a chicken and egg argument, but there’s value to be had in a roster having each other’s backs the way those Royals teams did. And the second and probably more important thing is that there is more than one way to win in baseball. I didn’t agree with probably the majority of what the Royals did to prepare for their postseason runs, but they still happened and there still was that parade in November of 2015. And I think that’s something that’s easily forgotten. Your way might be a great way to do things. Maybe it’s even a better way. But it’s certainly not the only way. As I get older, I think I start to realize that some people are so stuck in their way of thinking that they can’t even comprehend another way might work too. Getting a chance to be in the clubhouse occasionally and see those teams up close taught me a lot that actually translates to some life lessons too, so before I get too sappy about that, I’ll move on.
- Now, that said, the Royals do have their issues, and I think loyalty is one of them. This is especially true with Alcides Escobar, who continues to play like at all for no good reason. I get that the Royals are trying to be careful with Adalberto Mondesi for both health reasons and development reasons (though why start caring about his development now when they hadn’t until recently?), but this is getting ridiculous. If anything, their insistence on him playing and even being on the roster is hurting his legacy. It’s not like everyone loved Escobar before this season, but it would have been nice for a guy who isn’t productive at all anymore to have been able to get the sendoff that Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer did. Of course, time will absolve all of this and he will be remembered fondly for his role in the championship years, but it is just silly how much time he spends on the field even after the consecutive games streak was broken. I hope the Royals are able to make the right business decision with him and with Moustakas. Even if the market isn’t what they’d like for him, there’s no reason to keep him around. Ned Yost says that Dayton Moore isn’t going to trade him just to trade him, but really, he should. I’m sure there’s a number that would make sense if you want to extend him for three more years or something, but I don’t think it’s a number he’d take, even after his disastrous trip through free agency the first time. So trade the guy. Get what you can. And if you really want to bring him back, give him the deal in November that you would give him today and hope he says yes. I don’t think that’s necessary, but it’s at least a compromise.
- I was pretty hard on the Kelvin Herrera trade when it was made because I saw the return as really underwhelming. Maybe I’m talking myself into it a little more or maybe my opinion on the deal is just evolving as we see more facts are the actual deal, but I’m slowly becoming okay with it. I do believe the Royals wanted to move as fast as possible, especially after his first truly bad outing of the season against the Reds that night. And the market for rental relievers isn’t what people want it to be after the Aroldis Chapman for Gleyber Torres deal. But maybe more than anything, Blake Perkins has done way more than I ever expected from him. He’s hitting .282/.429/.376 with Wilmington with an 18 percent walk rate and a reasonable 20 percent strikeout rate. No, there isn’t much power, but the guy can really play center field and can steal some bases too. He’s just one of many high-OBP guys the Royals have in the lower levels, and if he can become a guy who can get on base at a good clip and play a fantastic center field, I’ll certainly take that. This could very well just be a hot streak as his walk rate is up and his strikeout rate is down from his time in Potomac, but it’s at least very encouraging.
- It looks like young pitching will be on the horizon for the Royals for this season and the near future, given their draft this season. With that in mind, and I’m sorry to harp on Perez, but they really need to find someone better behind the plate to help them. I know Sal’s arm is a huge plus and I know he’s going to catch a lot, but they need someone who is a better framer than he or Drew Butera. Heading into play last night, Perez ranked as the fourth worst in baseball and Butera was the seventh worst. You can argue until you’re blue in the face about whether or not that matters, but the fact is that it does. Cam Gallagher is, by all accounts, very good at it, so it might take care of itself when Butera hopefully leaves as a free agent, but if the Royals are serious about getting Perez out from behind the plate more often and they want to look elsewhere, they really need to be serious about finding someone who is a good enough receiver to really help the young pitching as they find their way to the big leagues over the next few seasons.