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Royals Interested In Luis Arraez Before Padres Trade

The Marlins got a surprising jump on the trade market this offseason, pulling off a key May trade when they sent an infielder. Luis Arraez to San Diego last Friday to receive a package of four players. That's not the case completely It's shocking given the Marlins' miserable season and the fact that their trade partner was the aggressive Padres, whose president of baseball operations, AJ Preller, leaves nothing to chance when a big-name player is even remotely available. However, it seems the Padres weren't the only club sniffing around Arraez despite the early nature of his entry into the trade market; Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports this morning that the Royals also expressed interest in Arraez before the Padres made that trade.

Rosenthal insists that the talks with Kansas City were preliminary and did not go far. Still, the interest from Kansas City is telling. The Royals had a brutal winter that saw them spend $109MM on multiple free agent signings, and coming off a 20-15 start to the season, it appears they are interested in continuing to strengthen the clubhouse.

Arraez is a below-average defender at second base, strong enough at first and has the bat to handle limited hitting duties. The Royals probably wouldn't use Arraez very early, because of the presence of Vinnie Pasquantino. Presumably, Kansas City would have given Arraez more playing time at second base and designated hitter.

Instead, the Royals will rely on the 26-year-old second baseman Michael Massey continuing his recent hot streak and looking to land a DH/outfielder Nelson Velazquez return to his 2023 form. Velazquez hit 14 homers in 147 games for the Royals last year after being acquired in a deadline trade with the Cubs, but has hit just .215/.284/.344 with a 30.4% slugging percentage this season as the team's primary hitter. .

Even if we look beyond Arraez specifically, the fact that Kansas City has been scouring the market for one of the few players who might actually be available for trade early in the season shows that the Royals will never be satisfied with their play. seasonal additions and any internal reinforcements that may arise. It may also show a willingness to deal from the end of their farm plan. The Royals' roster isn't considered very strong, so they would have to use some of their more notable prospects to pique Miami's interest.

Finally, the news of interest from the group is that he didn't finish trading a player only has so much weight. The Royals' interest in Arraez will be more than a possible footnote when he reaches free agency. But it's also an indication of how the Royals might perform in the coming weeks and months, and it lends some credence to the idea that they'll be in the mix when some top quality bats become available this summer. Whether it was revealed to the Royals that the Marlins would agree to pay the remainder of Arraez's contract is unclear. Kansas City opened the season with about $116MM in cap space, per RosterResource, and has used up $143MM of its cap space (under the previous ownership regime).

The Royals' offseason work has already pointed to the idea of ​​winning now, and as long as they stay within or on the edge of postseason contention, it seems likely that they will continue to put their foot on the gas.

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