I’m not sure what makes this the “critical stage” — perhaps it’s that the Royals are thinking about giving Ryan Dempster the three-year contract he wants and taking themselves out of the starting pitching market — but FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal is reporting the Royals are nearing a decision on whether to trade top prospect Wil Myers for a starter.
The starters previously mentioned in connection with Myers are the Rays’ James Shields, the Mets’ R.A. Dickey and Boston’s Jon Lester, though the Lester possibility seems to have fizzled out.
The Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton says he believes the Royals are just fine with trading Myers for Shields, but that the Rays want more in return. Likewise, the Mets are believed to want more than Myers for Dickey, while it doesn’t appear that the Royals are quite as interested in Dickey anyway.
Myers, who turns 22 next week, hit .314/.387/.600 with 37 homers and 109 RBI between Double- and Triple-A last season. It did come with 140 strikeouts in 522 at-bats, but right-handers with his kind of power don’t come around too often.
The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.
Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.
Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.