Potential Angels Trade Partner for Justin Upton: Kansas City Royals
Entering play on Wednesday, the Kansas City Royals sit 22nd in baseball with a wRC+ of 89 from their outfielders and have a .296 wOBA, also good enough for 22nd in MLB. If you take out Whit Merrifield‘s production, that changes drastically.
To say that they need some help in the outfield would be an understatement. That makes them an ideal landing spot for a former star veteran in need of a change of scenery.
With that said, Upton’s salary over the next three seasons is prohibitive for most big market teams and becomes nearly impossible to imagine the Royals taking on given their tight budgetary constraints. However, that doesn’t mean a deal can’t be had.
To make a deal work, the Angels would need to take on the salary of Danny Duffy, which the Royals have been trying to unload for the past few seasons. The left-hander is due $30.75 million between 2020 and 2021, making him a close match to a salary match, but the Angels would still need to include some money finalize an arrangement.
While the deal would certainly help the Angels, a team always looking to add pitchers and willing to take a chance on rebound candidates, it represents a different issue for the Royals. Kansas City has seen its rotation ravaged by COVID-19 in 2020, so they would need to receive an arm back as well. Enter stage left, Jaime Barria.
Barria was in the mix for the Angels’ sixth starter in summer camp but was ultimately optioned to the team’s alternate training site. While his 2019 stats don’t jump off the page (4-10, 6.42 ERA, 6.23 FIP), he was much better in 2019, when he went 10-9 with a 3.41 ERA over 26 starts for the Halos. He could slide into the Royals rotation now and replace Duffy.