On a Friday night in Arlington, the Texas Rangers beat up on the Kansas City Royals 8-3, thus continuing Royals’ July skid of epic proportions. Edinson Volquez, a target in the trade market, fell to 8-9 on the season as his ERA rose to 4.70, giving up six runs in six innings. The Royals swallowed their eighth loss in ten games and have dropped to 7-17 in the month of July. The season that began with aspirations of a third straight American League Pennant is now on its last leg, with a clubhouse full of guys searching for a resolution.
Royal Pains: Kansas City Royals Trade Deadline
Yet another injury has plagued the Royals. Luke Hochevar will have to undergo shoulder surgery and miss the rest of the season. Hochevar is the second player in the Royals organization to come down with thoracic outlet syndrome, a neurogenic disorder that is caused by the compression of nerves in the neck and shoulder. This condition causes pain, swelling, and numbness in the arm and hands. Prospect Kyle Zimmer was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome earlier this month and elected to undergo surgery as well.
For Hochevar and the Royals, the injury could not come at a worse time. His current contract contains a $7 million mutual option for 2017, and he was likely to become a free agent this winter. Before the news of his injury broke, Hochevar appeared to be a player who could be shopped around before the Monday’s trade deadline.
To Sell or Not to Sell?
The Royals are slowly seeing their playoff chances slip away, making them look more and more like potential sellers at the deadline. Royals rumors have been coming from every direction, one of the latest involving Volquez. Volquez could very well find himself pitching in another jersey by next week. It’s also possible that his 2016 performance has depressed his value to the point where a trade is not worth it.
The Royals could be missing out on a whole slew of potential prospects with the recent decline in his performance. The window to use Volquez as a bargaining chip is closing fast. On the other hand, trading him to another team in essence implies that the team is giving up on this season and is looking forward to 2017.
Running on Empty
There are a multitude of reasons the Royals are fourth in the AL Central at the end of July, ranging from mediocre starting pitching and piling injuries, to a number of free agent signings who have not met the expectations from the organization. It’s also possible that the Royals simply have nothing left in the tank. They have gotten about four months of rest during the span of two straight trips to the World Series.
Perhaps the rumors involving a potential trade has made the players tense about the situation. They might be feeling pressured to right the ship before the seemingly inevitable break up of this tight-knit crew in the Royals organization. Unfortunately, time waits for no man and there will be no time to rest quite yet. The Royals will return to Globe Life Park this weekend to finish off the series before the trade deadline on Monday.