The Kansas City Royals have been on a mission this summer. They are determined to show the world that last year’s improbable run to the World Series was no fluke and they are for real. They are so far doing that as they lead the AL Central by 3.5 games with a sizzling 40-28 record. However, they are not just going to be complacent and hope to continue their hot start with their current group, they are willing to be looking at the trade market in order to bring some more talent to their roster that will help them maintain this winning stretch of baseball they have played so far this season as they have cast a wide net and are showing interest in right-handed pitchers Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and utilityman Ben Zobrist as reported by Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.
Despite the Royals having arguably one of the games’ best bullpens, they are running the risk of overworking their bullpen. That’s because their pitching hasn’t quite been on par this season as compared to last season when they were led by veteran right-hander James Shields. He departed in free agency and the Royals were hoping that young flame throwing right-hander Yordano Ventura could emerge as the new ace of the staff. That hasn’t been the case as he recently hit the DL and wasn’t pitching as effectively as he had last year, with a mediocre 4.68 ERA across 12 starts this season. The Royals’ rotation ranks 21st in the league with an overall ERA of 4.37. Adding a proven veteran like Leake or Cueto would help the team immensely. The Cincinnati Reds, however, are not yet ready to engage in trade talks yet despite their less than stellar season so far.
The Royals do need help at the second base position as well. It is currently occupied by veteran , but he’s only hitting .230/.237/.311 as well as having a below average .548 OPS on the year. To make matters worse he’s under contract through 2017 and is due $22.01M during that span. With him hitting below-average and attached to a bloated contract, the Royals could definitely stand to see an upgrade at second base. Zobrist makes sense as he has experience playing there due to his history of being capable of playing anywhere on the diamond. However he may be just as tough to snag from the Oakland Athletics as they are also unwilling to engage in trade talks as they still believe they can crawl back into the AL West race. The Royals are one baseball’s best teams right now and see an opportunity to make a second-straight appearance in the postseason and are not going to let this chance slip away from them. Don’t be surprised to see them make a move by the trade deadline to bolster their roster.