3 Royals trade candidates the Angels could target
2) Royals trade candidate the Angels can acquire: Nicky Lopez
Nicky Lopez is a trickier trade target for the Angels. The team could really use a shortstop and Lopez is an unbelievable defender, but his bat isn't dependable. In 2021 Lopez broke out slashing .300/.365/.378 for Kansas City. He hit only two home runs but stole 22 bases in 23 attempts to go along with his defense. Lopez was a 4.3 bWAR player in 2021 which is obviously much better than the production the Angels received from their shortstops this past season.
Lopez took a big step back in 2022 as he slashed .227/.281/.273 without a home run in 141 games played. A big reason Lopez had so much success in 2021 was because of his .347 BAbip. That number plummeted to .265 in 2022. An average BAbip is around .300 so Lopez isn't as good of a hitter as he was in 2021 but also isn't as bad as he was this past season.
The best part of his game is his defense. Lopez ranked in the 98th percentile in Outs Above Average according to baseball savant this past season despite moving all around the diamond. Lopez played 68 games at second base, 52 games at shortstop, and another 30 games at third base. The season prior, Lopez's role was much more defined as he played in 148 of his 151 games at shortstop. Lopez led the league in OAA that season.
There are a lot of similarities between Lopez and David Fletcher but Lopez is a better defender than Fletch at shortstop. The Royals have shown resistance to trading the 27-year-old but he is a name that has come up in trade discussions. If he does become available, he could be a decent buy-low option.