Kansas City Royals Catcher MJ Melendez Reportedly “Drawing Interest”

MJ Melendez


The Kansas City Royals would prefer going into next season a much-improved team following their dismal term in 2002. As such, they have become the subject of various rumors, which is to be expected. It’s the same for every other MLB team, that’s just how the offseason works. 

 Winter meetings are underway, having kicked off this Sunday, and will present ball clubs the opportunity to discuss certain things amongst themselves. Trades and free agency, of course, will likely be the main thing on the agenda. The Royals can boast of being an intriguing, young team, yet that’s where it stops. The team can’t enter the discussion when it comes to proven talent in the MLB, though they have been pretty popular in the news lately. 

 According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, there is interest in MJ Melendez. However, the Royals don’t have much motivation to move him.

 “Catcher MJ Melendez is drawing interest, but he hit 18 home runs as a rookie, also plays left and right field, and is under club control for five more seasons,” Rosenthal wrote. “The Royals probably are not inclined to move him, either.”

 Salvador Perez, another catcher has also become a subject of rumors. But the player can veto any trade as he has at least 10 years under his belt and five with the same team. Because of this, it’s understood that other clubs haven’t even bothered with inquiries. 

 “Perez is the last player remaining from their 2015 World Series champions,” Rosenthal writes on the 32-year-old Venezuelan. “Club officials view him as an important part of the Royals’ offense and an asset in the development of their young pitchers.

 “As a player with at least 10 years of service, five with the same club, Perez would have the right to veto any trade. Teams are not even bothering to ask the Royals about him, major-league sources say.”

 As for Melendez, it can simply mean that one team, in particular, has asked about him; doesn’t mean the Royals entertained it either. Rosenthal’s report shared no details into whether or not any clubs have made formal attempts to get the outfielder on their books. Of course, it could mean that there are several teams exploring the possibility.

 Melendez would be a neat catch for the right team, though. At just 24 years, he is quite athletic. One of the more attractive aspects is the fact that he is under club control. Now, that’s pretty big. 

 The Florida native hit .217 in his rookie season and walked 12,4 percent of the time. He smashed 18 home runs and 21 doubles in 129 outings. While his 99 wRC+ isn’t all that impressive, he is expected to improve and it’s a good number to work off of. 

This is a player with lots of upsides, which is why the Royals aren’t too keen on trading him. He’s the sort of player who could influence the MLB betting market in time to come, with outlets such as BetMGM Kansas catering to local fans.

 The meetings that began on Sunday are a first for the league since 2019 due to the pandemic. Fans will hope that the team will be involved in some big deals, but that’s probably not going to be the case. 

General Manager J.J. Picollo wants a starting pitcher and a right-handed hitter, but he has already made it clear that he won’t be spending lots of money this winter.

 “We’re operating right now near capacity with what we want to spend, but that’s where we need to be open-minded in how we can manage and free up some money to change the look of the team a little bit,” Picollo told Anne Rogers of MLB.com in November. “[Royals owner] John {Sherman] has told me, ‘Let’s understand where we are as a team right now, and when the time is righRoyalst for us to add to the payroll, we’ll do that.'”

 The GM added that the team has some other priorities for the time being.

 “It’s going to ebb and flow a little bit, but with where we’re at as a team right now, adding an extra $20 million isn’t going to put us at the top,” he said. “There are other things we need to take care of first before we make that push with the payroll.”

 Based on the above, the Royals weren’t expected to be in the market for top free-agent pitchers Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, and Jacob deGrom. Kershaw has since been re-signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers while deGrom has been signed by the Texas Texans.

 This isn’t to say the Royals won’t be chasing any free agents. Sean Manaea could be a target for KC right now, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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