NASHVILLE, Tenn. Will they or won't they? That seems to be the question surrounding the Kansas City Royals at Major League Baseball's winter meetings.
Baseball's top executives have gathered at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and among the speculation and rumors being overheard from the lobby is talk that the Royals pursuit of a starting pitcher could force them to part with either Billy Butler or top prospect Wil Myers.
Both moves would probably upset fans in Kansas City, who have come to love Butler during his six years with the Royals and have been looking forward to the arrival of Myers after his 37-homer season between AA and AAA last year.
But if the Royals are serious about acquiring another starter, which they apparently are, both Butler and Myers appear to be their strongest and most viable trade chips.
A report in the Kansas City Star said both the Seattle Mariners and Baltimore Orioles were interested in Butler while rumors in Nashville had the Mets asking for Myers in a possible trade involving Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey.
Asked if he had spoken with Myers about the ongoing trade rumors, Royals manager Ned Yost said, "No, because they're just that, they're rumors. Like all organizations have, we've been locked up in our room going over about 90 different scenarios with about 40 different players. They're just rumors right now. No, we don't try to get anybody worked up over a rumor."
Yost didn't address the possibility of Butler being moved, but said, "We love Billy in the four," while talking about what his lineup might look like next season.
The Royals have already worked to improve their starting rotation this offseason, acquiring Ervin Santanta from the Anaheim Angels and re-signing Jeremy Guthrie to a three-year contract. Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar figure to fill two more spots, leaving a spot open for an additional starter.
Top pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi, Will Smith or Luis Mendoza fill out the rotation as the No. 5 starter should the Royals not be able to land any additional starters before next season.
The thought among writers in Nashville is that the Royals would rather trade Myers than Butler but it's unclear yet if either of them will ultimately be moved.