Kansas City Royals Trade Rumors: Latest Updates, News and Reaction

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2014

Kansas City Royals Trade Rumors: Latest Updates, News and Reaction

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Kansas City's stay atop the American League Central standings last month may have been fleeting, but it was a sign that the Royals may finally be ready to break a nearly 30-year absence from postseason baseball.

    With a strong starting rotation and an excellent bullpen, the Royals are perhaps the only real competition Detroit will face for the division this season. But if they hope not to squander their opportunity, general manager Dayton Moore is going to have to address some weak spots on the major league roster.

    In a somewhat surprising development, owner David Glass told Andy McCullough of The Kansas City Star that the club would consider adding to its payroll if necessary, though he added that he's not convinced the team needs to make a deal in order to contend.

    As trade chatter surrounding the team picks up, keep it here for the most up-to-the-minute rumblings about the Royals as well as analysis and everything else that comes with it.

    While the post date on this tracker will always show as July 1, simply click to the next slide to see the latest from the rumor mill as the Royals look to improve their chances to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1985.

Done Deals

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    Brandon Wade/Associated Press

    July 16: Acquired RHP Jason Frasor from Texas for RHP Spencer Patton (Analysis)

    July 16: Traded LHP Ryan Verdugo to Boston for cash considerations

    July 28: Traded IF Danny Valencia to Toronto for RHP Liam Hendriks and C Erik Kratz

Royals Looking to Reunite with Bonifacio?

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 1:10 p.m. ET

    Kansas City is one of three teams making a push to acquire Bonifacio, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark, who names San Francisco and Seattle as the Royals' stiffest competition.

    --End of Update--

    Update: Wednesday, July 30 at 7:42 p.m. ET

    The Royals are "not yet" close to a deal for Bonifacio, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports.

    It's clear that the Royals are casting a wide net in their search for relatively inexpensive reinforcements, however, and a deal could still be agreed upon at any time.

    --End of Update--

    Update: Wednesday, July 30 at 7:00 p.m. ET

    Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun is hearing that Bonifacio is likely heading back to Kansas City, though there's no indication as to what the Royals may be sending back to the Cubs in the potential deal.

    --End of Update--

    Wednesday, July 30 at 3:35 p.m. ET

    Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports that the Royals are one of four teams interested in Cubs super-utility man Emilio Bonifacio.

    Bonifacio spent part of 2013 in a Royals' uniform, hitting .285 with a .700 OPS, spending time at second base, shortstop and in center field.

    The 29-year-old has put up a .279/.318/.373 slash line for the Cubs with 16 stolen bases and could fill a similar role with the Royals as he did a year ago, bouncing around the diamond to fill in where needed.

Alex Rios: Royals Have Scouted Veteran Outfielder

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 12:12 p.m. ET

    CBS Sports' Jon Heyman says that the Royals are one of three teams aggressively working to acquire Rios, along with the Giants and Mariners.

    --End of Update--

    Monday, July 21 at 2:00 p.m. ET

    Kansas City had scouts in attendance as Texas and Toronto played on Saturday, according to the Dallas Morning News' Evan Grant, who believes that the Royals were there to check out Rangers outfielder Alex Rios.

    Of course, Rios proceeded to sprain his ankle in the first inning and hasn't played since, but the injury isn't believed to be severe and he should be back in the lineup shortly.

    After averaging 19 home runs a season from 2006 through 2013, Rios' has hit only four this year, raising questions as to where his power has gone. But he's put together a solid campaign for the injury-riddled Rangers, hitting .302 with a .765 OPS and a league-leading eight triples.

    Earning $13.5 million this year and with an equally valued team option for next season, acquiring Rios would test owner David Glass' recent comments that he'd be willing to take on more salary if needed.

San Diego's Ian Kennedy Kansas City's Latest Target

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    Gregory Bull/Associated Press

    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 11:43 a.m. ET

    The Royals are still in pursuit of Kennedy, per USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

    --End of Update--

    Wednesday, July 30 at 6:38 p.m. ET

    San Diego's Ian Kennedy is the latest name to pop up on the rumor mill in Kansas City's search not only for rotation help in 2014, but someone to fill James Shields' shoes in 2015.

    They're not alone in their interest, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, who notes that Miami, Pittsburgh and others have all inquired on the 29-year-old righty.

    Yesterday, ESPN's Jayson Stark reported that the Padres were seeking a major league starter and an prospect in exchange for Kennedy, with the Padres worried about leaving their yet-to-be-hired full-time general manager with a makeshift rotation.

    Kennedy, 8-9 with a 3.66 ERA, 1.22 whip and 143 strikeouts over 135.1 innings of work, has one year of arbitration eligibility remaining before becoming a free agent after the 2015 season. 

A.J. Burnett Still in Play?

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 11:43 a.m. ET

    USA Today's Bob Nightengale says that the Royals are still in on Colon, contrary to earlier reports.

    --End of Update--

    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 11:25 a.m. ET

    Bartolo Colon may no longer be an option for the Royals but A.J. Burnett still might be.

    While there's no indication that a deal is close, the Royals and Phillies are still talking about a potential trade involving the veteran right-hander , Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports.

    --End of Update--

    Update: Wednesday, July 30 at 6:30 p.m. ET

    The Royals walked away from conversations with the Mets convinced that New York didn't want to move Colon, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports, though he notes that it's still a "fluid situation."

    --End of Update--

    Tuesday, July 29 at 4:34 p.m. ET

    While the team isn't sure whether they can afford either one, the Royals have interest in New York's Bartolo Colon and Philadelphia's A.J. Burnett, sources tell the New York Daily News' Andy Martino.

    Colon, 41, has gone 10-8 with a 3.88 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over 21 starts for the Mets, while the 37-year-old Burnett hasn't been quite as effective in 23 starts for the Phillies, going 6-10 with a 4.15 ERA and 1.36 WHIP.

    Burnett holds a $15 million player option on his contract for 2015, while Colon is due a $12 million salary in the final year of his deal.

    Fitting one of those salaries into the Royals' budget, both this season and next, could be an issue, and potentially impact the team's chances of re-signing James Shields after the season.

Kansas City Joins the Fray for Boston's Andrew Miller

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    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

    Update: Wednesday, July 30 at 12:02 p.m. ET

    Boston is reportedly asking teams for their best prospect in exchange for Miller, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets, an asking price that is all but certain to take Kansas City out of the running for the middle reliever.

    While it's true that the Royals could use some reinforcements in the bullpen, there's no way that a two-month rental is worth giving up the likes of Jorge Bonifacio, Raul Mondesi or Kyle Zimmer to acquire.

    --End of Update--

    Monday, July 28 at 11:56 a.m. ET

    As the Royals continue to try and solidify their bullpen the team has turned its attention to Boston's Andrew Miller, according to Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston.

    Edes speculates that the Red Sox could target a pair of young outfielders in the Kansas City farm system—21-year-old Jorge Bonifacio, 21 and 19-year-old Elier Hernandez—in a deal for the standout reliever.

    The 29-year-old is having the best season of his nine-year career, pitching to a 2.45 ERA and 0.94 WHIP over 48 relief appearances, though he's been even better than those numbers would lead you to believe, with a 1.82 FIP and 1.87 xFIP.

Marlon Byrd No Longer in Play for KC

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    Joe Sargent/Getty Images

    Update: Monday, July 28 at 2:52 p.m. ET

    Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal says that Byrd is no longer an option for the Royals, a development that isn't at all surprising considering the outfielder's demand that his 2016 option be guaranteed in exchange for waiving his no-trade clause.

    Agreeing to pay a 38-year-old outfielder $8 million two years from now isn't a move that the Royals were likely to make in the first place, especially with a handful of young outfield prospects working their way through the system.

    --End of Update--

    Update: Sunday, July 20 at 2:23 p.m. ET

    Kansas City has interest in Philadelphia's Marlon Byrd, tweets Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi, but he notes that the Royals have not yet decided whether they're buying or selling.

    If they're buying, the 36-year-old Byrd has the Royals listed as one of four teams that he can block a trade to, per CSN Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury, and he's already told the Phillies that he'd only accept a trade to Seattle that he'd only accept a deal if the club guarantees his $8 million team option for 2016, according to both ESPN's Jim Bowden and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune.

    It's fair to assume he'd have the same stipulation on waiving his no-trade clause to join the Royals, which you'd have to think would make a deal very unlikely.

    --End of Update--

    Norichika Aoki has been a disappointment in his first season with the Royals, struggling to get on base with any consistency (as evidenced by his .326 on-base percentage) and failing to serve as the table-setter the club thought it had acquired when it traded Will Smith to Milwaukee over the winter.

    Andy McCullough of The Kansas City Star recently wrote that the club may have interest in veterans such as Philadelphia's Marlon Byrd and San Diego's Seth Smith, as neither is expected to command a significant prospect in return and both have experience in the American League and postseason play.

Antonio Bastardo on Royals' Radar

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    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    Wednesday, July 23 at 1:32 p.m. ET

    CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury reports that Kansas City is one of four teams, along with the Blue Jays, Pirates and Tigers that have been scouting the Phillies and are believed to have interest in Antonio Bastardo, with Salisbury noting that the Royals seem to be particularly interested in the 28-year-old.

    Under team control for one more year, the southpaw has pitched to a 3.27 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over 44 innings, striking out 53 and is tough on batters from both sides of the plate. The Royals could certainly use a reliable left-handed option in the bullpen and Bastardo might be the best lefty available.

July 16: Acquired RHP Jason Frasor from Texas

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    Jim Cowsert/Associated Press

    Age: 36

    2014 Stats: 38 G, 1-1, 3.34 ERA (3.66 xFIP), 1.38 WHIP, 29.2 IP, 27 H, 4.2 BB/9, 9.1 K/9

    Contract Status: One year, $1.75 million (Approximately $720,000 remaining)

    It was only a few days ago that Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported that the Royals were "looking hard" for bullpen help, and they've found some in the form of veteran reliever Jason Frasor.

    Frasor does an excellent job of keeping the ball on the ground and in the park, with a nearly 48 percent groundball rate and only two home runs against him despite playing in one of the more hitter-friendly venues in the game.

    While he's not the southpaw reliever that the Royals could use, Frasor has been successful against left-handed bats, holding them to a .244 BA and .706 OPS over his 11-year career and an even more impressive .233 BA and .625 OPS this season.

    Getting a veteran reliever still performing at a relatively high level for little cost, both financially and personnel-wise, was a shrewd move by GM Dayton Moore.

Is Billy Butler on the Block...Again?

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Tuesday, July 15 at 8:06 p.m. ET

    Back in November, ESPN's Buster Olney reported that the Royals were willing to listen to offers for designated hitter Billy Butler. While talks between the club and interested parties went nowhere, at least one of those parties—the Seattle Mariners—would still like to work something out.

    According to Olney's colleague Jerry Crasnick, the Mariners have called Kansas City inquiring about Butler's availability.

    Whether the Royals are seriously considering moving the struggling 28-year-old remains to be seen, but Butler, who is posting career lows in nearly every offensive category, could potentially benefit from a change of scenery.

    That said, Kansas City would be selling low on a player that, for much of his eight-year career, has been a productive bat in the heart of their lineup—something that's not easily replaceable.