The Duel

3 Royals Players Least Likely to Still Be on the Roster by the End of 2020

Tristan Jung
Whit Merrifield is likely to be on the trading block for the Royals this year.
Whit Merrifield is likely to be on the trading block for the Royals this year. / Daniel Shirey/Getty Images
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After going 59-103 in 2019, the Kansas City Royals are projected to be at the bottom of the AL Central this year. That will leave the team plenty of reason to trade some of their veteran players for prospects.

The Royals are in line for a full rebuild, and there are several names on the Opening Day roster that won't be there by September. Here are the three Royals who are likely to be playing somewhere else in 2020.

1. Whit Merrifield

Whit Merrifield hit .302 last season and could be on the move.
Whit Merrifield hit .302 last season and could be on the move. / Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

Whit Merrifield is one of the Royals' biggest success stories. A longtime minor leaguer who didn't make the majors until after he turned 27, Merrifield has grown into an elite contact hitter and stolen base threat. He's put up back-to-back seasons with a batting average above .300 and can play second base and any outfield spot. He's also on a bargain four-year, $16 million contract that has a club option for 2023. Given that the Royals aren't likely to be competitive by 2023, they should be looking to trade Merrifield for a big return while his value is high.

2. Ian Kennedy

Ian Kennedy saved 30 games for the Royals in 2019.
Ian Kennedy saved 30 games for the Royals in 2019. / Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

The Royals did not give Ian Kennedy a five-year, $70 million contract in 2016 so that he could be a lockdown closer, but life works in mysterious ways. After two disappointing years in the rotation, the 35-year-old veteran revitalized himself in the bullpen, raising his K/9 from 7.90 to 10.37 and posting a solid 3.41 ERA and 2.99 fielding-independent pitching (FIP) mark over 63.1 innings. Many teams will be looking for bullpen help in late July, and if Kennedy can be close to the pitcher he was in 2019, he will be available on the trade market as long as suitors are willing to pick up some of his salary.

3. Greg Holland

Greg Holland is back with the Royals after leaving for the Rockies in 2017.
Greg Holland is back with the Royals after leaving for the Rockies in 2017. / Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Greg Holland etched himself in Royals history by saving 125 games between 2013-2015. For a while, he was the best reliever in baseball, and he will be looking to regain that form after receiving a minor league invite during the offseason. Holland hasn't been the same pitcher since he missed 2016 with Tommy John and signed with the Colorado Rockies. He's kept up the amazing strikeout numbers, but he had a 6.02 BB/9 last year with the Diamondbacks. By the end of the season, Holland will have turned his career around and been traded to a team that needs him, or he won't be with the Royals anymore. It's been a tough fall for one of the most exciting relievers of the 2010s, but he has one last shot to prove himself in the majors.


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Tristan Jung is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tristan Jung also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tristan1117. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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