I am not normally one for idle trade speculation or trade proposals. However, I was inspired by Paul Boye on Twitter.
Like usual, the Royals are fairly mediocre team that is somehow winning a bunch of games and is now in control of a wild card spot, and is only a few games out of their division.
The Royals have already made one trade this summer, bringing in Trevor Cahill, Brandon Mauerer, and Ryan Buchter from the Padres. This helped shore up their bullpen and give them another rotation arm. The problem (or opportunity) that still exists with their roster is they have some massive holes. Additionally, a major portion of their roster is about to be free agents, meaning this may be the last chance to make an impact.
The most recognizable name and likely sticking point to this deal concept is SS Alcides Escobar. Escobar is 30 years old, an impending free agent, and is currently batting .230/.254/.316. Escobar has never really hit, but he has always been a managerial favorite. The Royals are set at first base this year with Eric Hosmer, but they are running out Brandon Moss as their primary DH. Moss is hitting .207/.286/.410 (with an uncharacteristic reverse split). Even with Cahill in their rotation, the Royals are still relying on Jason Hammel and Ian Kennedy. (I am not going to touch Alex Gordon in this scenario).
So here is the proposal:
Freddy Galvis, Tommy Joseph, Jeremy Hellickson, a large pile of cash
Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, Lively/Leiter/Thompson, some ok prospects from Kansas City
The Phillies have a roster problem. They need to give Hoskins at bats, and J.P. Crawford might be ready now. They don’t need to open up a rotation spot, but it isn’t bad to get an extended look at some marginal prospects. The prospect return is unlikely to be big, but it should be non-zero because of Galvis.
So why do the Royals do it? Freddy is probably a 1-2 win upgrade on Escobar and he has two more years of control where he could be the bridge to Raul Mondesi, or just a utility infielder. Joseph gives them a right handed bat in a lineup that is fairly left handed heavy. He can DH and occasionally spell Hosmer at first. If Moss returns to mashing RHPs and struggling against lefties, then Joseph is a good platoon partner for him. If Hosmer walks in free agency, Joseph is a fine placeholder, but ideally if the Royals you want to treat him mostly as a rental or camp body for a 2018 DH competition. As for Hellickson, he is probably a rotation upgrade, and they could move another starter to the bullpen, but really he is just another cheap (in prospect return) arm to add to a last ditch run.
So why doesn’t this happen? Escobar has been a big part of the Royals core from a team chemistry and talisman like good luck charm perspective, it would take a break from the past for the Royals to move on. Tommy Joseph probably doesn’t move the needle for them at all, and Jeremy Hellickson is a lot like what they already have. Then there is the prospect price, which is unlikely to be substantial, but is going to involve real things that it might not make sense to move for a likely loss in the Wild Card game.
Now this is all just some ramblings. I think there is a lot of room for some fringe contenders (Rays, Mariners, Royals, Twins, Brewers, Pirates, Rockies, and Diamondbacks) to all make meaningful improvements to their teams without giving up a large prospect price. In the case of the Phillies and Royals, I think there might be some fits.