As the Winter Meetings began, Royals general manager Dayton Moore dismissed the idea of an all-out fire sale this offseason. But after the club traded closer Wade Davis to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday, there was one logical question: Is another deal coming?
“I can’t predict other moves at this point for us,” Moore said. “(That’s) only to say it’s our job to explore other ideas and creative thoughts. And our position hasn’t changed with regard to our expectations to compete in 2017 and beyond.”
The trade of Davis to the Cubs for outfielder Jorge Soler left the Royals with five outfielders for a limited number of spots. This does not include a number of other players on the periphery. The roster crunch could leave the Royals looking to move an outfielder to fill another need. And Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson have both received degrees of interest this week.
The Oakland A’s emerged this week as one suitor for Dyson, while the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers also had interest at one time, according to John Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball. Dyson remains an attractive option because of his combination of speed, defense and cost-friendly status with one season remaining before free agency.
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“When you’re looking at potential-type fits — leadoff guy that plays good defense in center field, we’ve got a big park, and can run a little bit — certainly he’s a guy that’s being talked and we’re looking at him right now,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “Whether that happens or not, I’m not sure. But potentially he would be a good fit for us.”
Cain has also attracted the attention of multiple teams, yet the Royals appear more hesitant to part ways with the All-Star center fielder. If the Royals traded Cain, Dyson would profile as a natural replacement. But much like the Davis trade, club officials would like a potential deal to help the Royals in 2017 and beyond, which means the return would need to feature major-league-ready players who could offset the loss of Cain. That package of players could prove elusive.
If the season began tomorrow, the Royals would slot Soler in right field, next to Cain and left fielder Alex Gordon. Moore said Soler could also fill in as the DH on occasion, leaving right field open. But in addition to Dyson, the Royals also possess Paulo Orlando, who is coming off a .300 season while playing in 128 games. This list of outfielders does not include Billy Burns, acquired last July from Oakland in exchange for outfielder Brett Eibner, or prospects Hunter Dozier and Jorge Bonifacio.
In the past, the Royals have often carried five outfielders on the 25-man roster. They could do so again in 2017, especially with Gordon and Cain set to draw duties at DH as well. But the presence of Cheslor Cuthbert as a reserve infielder and part-time DH adds another wrinkle.
For now, the Royals are targeting younger players who can help them in 2017 in potential trades. But Moore said they would also consider prospects as a suitable return if the right deal came along.