As the trade deadline approaches, Royals fan everywhere have their panties in a bunch. Why? Because the Royals are one game below .500, 7 games behind Detroit, and 3.5 games behind Seattle. Surely they won’t catch Detroit, so the Wild Card is their only playoff hope at this point.
With a chance to make the playoffs this year and end a drought that far too many generations have lived to see, selling away the team’s top pitcher f0r a quality, productive hitter seems ludicrous, right? Maybe not so much.
As David Lesky (@DBLesky) of Pine Tar Press helped me realize today, the right move for the Royals would be to sell. The chances of winning the second wild card spot are slim, and it’s going to take a much better performance from the team than what they’ve shown so far.
The Royals arguably only have one player to sell (that would make sense), and it’s James Shields. I think we can all agree he was a temporary, short term solution for this team when they traded for him. He will enter free agency at the end of the season, and we all know the Royals don’t plan on trying to get him to stick around. Shields was brought into to help the team reach the playoffs in 2013 and/or 2014, and that was his sole purpose.
The Royals had a ‘win now’ mentality, and they hoped Shields could help them do that. The Royals managed to have their first winning season in 9 years last year, but it wasn’t enough. They are on pace to win about the same number of games this year, and it still won’t be enough.
If Shields won’t be returning next season anyway, it makes sense to lose him in a trade rather than free agency. Of course, the incompetent front office doesn’t realize that.
Trading Shields now means acquiring pieces to an offense for possibly the next three years. Ventura and Duffy look like they could headline a solid rotation, and Kyle Zimmer seems to be making great progress in the minors. Expect to see him next year.
The Royals are going to need a replacement for Billy Butler, because he won’t be coming back next year either (for the record, I was and always will be a Butler fan). Aoki hasn’t provided much on the offensive side, Esky loves to swing at balls in the dirt, and the offense as a whole looks like a little league team.
The right move for the Royals is to sell, but they won’t. They won’t because fans are tired of selling. Fans are tired of rebuilding. Fans want a winning team, but only get mediocrity. The front office knows they should sell, but won’t. They’re still in their ‘win now’ mentality, but aren’t winning.
Logic says that the Royals should sell. The Royals say, what’s logic? Let’s just #BeRoyal