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This is part of a series of posts in which we call out all 30 teams for their wily offseason moves and tragic offseason blunders.

royals.gif

All of a sudden, there seems to be this cloud of optimism surrounding the Kansas City Royals. Sure, they’ve always been a scrappy bunch, looking to spoil the late-season success of many a contending team while reveling in their underachieving basement-dweller reality. But for some reason, this year they have a sense about themselves like they have a purpose.

A Royals fan sent this email to the royals.com mailbag feature:

There’s no question the Royals have improved, but how long will it take for the young players to develop and for fans to reasonably expect the team to contend for a playoff berth?

– Paul E., Platteville, Wis.

Sadly, Paul, for realists (i.e., everyone) the Royals may never contend. Yes, they have tons of young talent; but there’s that nagging market-size conundrum. In this day in age, you need the big bucks to pay the big guys, more so after this offseason. I mean, even your Royals got into it by giving Gil Meche – Gil Meche!! – $55 mil over five years. But you have to keep your core intact, and year after year, the Royals can’t hold on to future superstars, even if it is for two seasons of pre-superstardom. Johnny Damon? Gone. Carlos Beltran? Gone. Jermaine Dye? Gone.

But enough of the past. Royal fans are optimistic about the future! And they should be. General manager Dayton Moore has assembled a squad rich in talent, and they have one potential superstar in hot prospect Alex Gordon. True, they traded away two good bullpen arms last year, Andrew Sisco to the White Sox, and their closer and possibly the major leaguer with the coolest name, Ambiorix Burgos, to the Mets. But they also signed David Riske, Zach Day and Octavio Dotel, among others, to replace them.

A surplus of starting pitchers gives manager Buddy Bell enough arms to mix and match. Gil Meche, Odalis Perez, Luke Hudson, and Jorge de la Rosa (who was throwing well in winter ball) are locks for 1-4. And competing for the fifth starter role are Brian Bannister, Todd Wellemeyer, and former prodigy Zack Greinke.

Greinke was supposed to be the next Greg Maddux, until he hit a giant psychological anxiety wall, en route to 17 losses in 2005; he was then shipped to the minors making a few relief appearances late in 2006. But who knows, maybe with the new video system the Royals have in place, Greinke will be able to turn it around.

Of course, Kansas City baseball talk is not complete without mentioning the pillar to their lineup, Mike Sweeney. The big DH had some back problems last year, but seems to have recovered for a full season. And combined with young hitters like Mark Teahen, David DeJesus, Ryan Shealy, and Emil Brown, along with veterans Mark Grudzielanek, and the ageless Reggie Sanders, the Royals have themselves a solid lineup.

We’ll see, then, what all this optimism is about.

Offseason grade: A B (see comments)

Acquisitions: Gill Meche, Octavio Dotel, David Riske, Zach Day, Alex S. Gonzalez, Ross Gload, Brian Bannister, Jason LaRue.

Losses: Donnie Murphy, Andrew Sisco, Runelvys Hernandez, Ambiorix Burgos, Jeff Keppinger.

Projected Lineup, Rotation, and Closer

CF David DeJesus .295 / .364 / .446, 56 RBI

2B Mark Grudzielanek .297 / .331 / .409, 52 RBI

3B Mark Teahen .290 / .357 / .517, 69 RBI

DH Mike Sweeney .258/ .349 / .438, 33 RBI

OF Emile Brown .287 /.358 / .457, 81 RBI

SS Angel Berroa .234 / .259 / .333, 54 RBI

1B Ryan Shealy .277 / .333 / .450, 37 RBI

OF Reggie Sanders .246 / .304 / .425, 49 RBI

C Jason LaRue .194/ .317 / .346

SP Gill Meche – 11-8, 4.48

SP Odalis Perez – 6-8. 6.20

SP Luke Hudson – 7-6, 5.12

SP Jorge de la Rosa – 5-6, 6.49

SP Zack Greinke – 5-17, 5.80 (in 2005)

CL Octavio Dotel – 71 career saves

- Hot Offseason Action Index -

3 Responses to “Hot Offseason Action: Royals”

  1. Nick Kapur says:

    I don’t get it Alejandro…how come the Royals get an “A”? Their biggest move is universally riduculed as the worst signing of the offseason, and they’ve pretty much done nothing that will improve the team. I mean, Odalis Perez is their number 2 starter!

    This was a terrible team last season, and it is going to be terrible again this year. Are you really saying the Royals had a better offseason than every other team we’ve profiled so far???

    I urge you to reconsider your grade!

  2. I agree with Nick. The Royals didn’t bring in anybody who’ll be a difference maker. No Soriano. No Lee. No Garcia. Just Gil Meche. How can you get an A when your best addition is Gil Meche, and the only way you got him was to grossly overpay him?

  3. Alejandro Leal says:

    C’mon people, think about it, it’s the Royals! They’ve made far more moves than a number of teams (Tigers, Tiwns) that may in the end generate more wins than those other over-paid free agents. I mean, do we really think Gary Sheffield is going to add 5+ wins to the Tigers record come October?

    I’m not saying the Royals are going to contend; I KNOW they’re not going to, but I’ve got to look at it from a strategic point of view. At least GM Dayton Moore isn’t trying to run the club into the ground.

    Meche WAS overpaid, but the Royals can’t afford to bring in a big name player like Lee, or even trade for Garcia. And again, they’ve got tons of young talent. After trading away all but one of his young bullpen arms, Moore at least compensated by signing experienced veterans.

    I’ll say this; the Royals don’t have the same leverage as other teams do. But in retrospect, I guess it was a bit of a stretch to give them an A considering other teams were given Bs and Cs.

    I still believe they had a productive offseason; but granted, my grade inflation was detrimental to the others. I’ll change it to a B.

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