KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Royals could have waited until closer to the trade deadline to deal All-Star outfielder Andrew Benintendi, perhaps getting a slightly better offer in the process, but consummating their move with the Yankees for three pitching prospects late Wednesday provided one largely unintended benefit.
They’ll have more time to work on trading everyone else.
The trade of Benintendi, who is eligible for free agency after this season, is likely the first of many for Kansas City ahead of Tuesday’s deadline. They are mired in another losing season, their biggest goal staving off 100 losses once again, yet have an abundance of players capable of putting a contending team over the top down the stretch.
That includes Whit Merrifield, a two-time All-Star who can play just about any position; right-hander Brad Keller, a consistent starter who could provide an upgrade to the back of a rotation; and relievers Josh Staumont and Scott Barlow, both of whom have electric stuff and proven ability to close games.
“We’ve been pretty open with clubs,” Royals general manager J.J. Picollo said Thursday, “and really, right now, I think we’re in a position where we don’t have to be the aggressor. The players we have remaining have years on their contract. We don’t have to be the aggressor. But over the next 24-to-48 hours, we’ll have a more clear picture of who seriously wants to acquire some of the players we have on this team, and I think it’ll get interesting. I don’t know where it will go.”