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Which Royals offer the most trade value this offseason?

Rustin Dodd, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Baseball

Contract status: Four years, $60 million Free agent: 2022

The value: Across the last two seasons, Duffy ranks ninth in the American League in ERA (3.64) and 11th in WAR (6.1) while battling some injury issues. His durability could be in question, and teams might be concerned about off-field issues. But at his best, he is one of the most talented left-handers in baseball. He is also under contract for four seasons at a reasonable price. If the Royals are willing to move Duffy -- and there is no indication that is the case -- they could be best served to hope he pitches well in the first half and check in on his value at the trade deadline. His contract is not as club-friendly as Jose Quintana's was last season. But the White Sox sent Quintana to the Cubs for a package that included consensus top-10 prospect Eloy Jimenez, an outfielder, and Dylan Cease, a talented young pitcher with a big arm.

-- 3. Whit Merrifield

Contract status: Arbitration eligible in 2020 Free agent: 2023

The value: Merrifield slashed .288/.324/.460 in 2017 while leading the American League with 34 stolen bases. He also compiled 3.1 wins above replacement, according to the FanGraphs version of the stat. He will also turn 29 years old in January, which means he may not quite fit into the Royals' long-term plans. Is his value at a peak right now? He will not be a free agent until after the 2022 season, so there is no rush. But if the club control increases his value this winter, maybe it's the time to move him.

-- 4. Scott Alexander

 

Contract status: Arbitration eligible in 2020 Free agent: 2023

The value: Alexander is sort of the relief version of Merrifield. An unexpected standout, he posted a 2.48 ERA with 7.7 strikeouts per nine innings and a league-high 73.8 ground-ball rate in 69 innings last season. At times, he looked like Zach Britton with slightly less velocity on his sinker. He offers long-term value and control. Like Merrifield, the Royals must ask the question: Is his value at its highest right now? Perhaps he could be packaged with another reliever and moved at the deadline for a decent prospect or two.

-- 5. Kelvin Herrera

Contract status: One year, $8.3 million (arbitration projection)

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