This is one in a series of posts in which we investigate teams’ offseason dealings, and unravel the most intriguing ones.
What does a team that sports the worst offense in its division do during the offseason? Well, apparently they try to amass the most cast-offs they can from the only other team in the division to win a World Series in recent memory.
The Royals overhauled their outfield, bringing in Scott Podsednik, who made a significant contribution to the White Sox last year, and everybody’s favorite future pitching god, Rick Ankiel (OK, cheap shot, but my brother sure made it seem like it a few years ago). To make room, Jose Guillen and his -16 UZR will be shifted to the DH hole and free agent signee Brian Anderson (whats up with all these washed up ChiSox?) will come off the bench.
In the infield, third base is Alex Gordon’s job to lose, but with Josh Fields in the fold, the pressure is on for the once-hot prospect to bounce back. Alberto Callaspo (.300, .356, .457) and Billy Butler make up a solid right side of the infield, but don’t expect much from Yuniesky Betancourt.
One especially puzzling move was the Jason Kendall deal. Shortly after the Nationals inked veteran backstop Ivan Rodriguez to a two-year $2.5 MM deal, the Royals signed Kendall to $6MM two-year contract. How can the Royals spend $6MM on a two-year deal for Jason Kendall, when the Nationals (a team no better than the Royals), inked Ivan Rodriguez for less?
As far as the rotation, manager Trey Hillman hasn’t settled on a fifth starter. Greinke returns after a stellar 2009 (he won the Cy Young), seconded by Gil Meche, and Brian Bannister and Luke Hochevar have also impressed the skipper enough to have guaranteed themselves spots. At the back end, the Royals are looking into the possibility of converting relievers Kyle Farnsworth and Robinson Tejeda into starters, with Kyle Davies also in the mix. If none of them pan out, they’ll have to find a starter elsewhere.
Soria will anchor the bullpen as closer, but don’t expect much from the rest of a staff that allowed the third most runs in the league.
Although the Royals continue their tradition of grooming good young solid players, it’s business as usual in trying not to keep them, as the team recently inked Billy Butler to a one-year deal. The low-risk, high-upside (and cheap) deals that revamped their outfield, however, show signs that team might make a better effort in 2010, but nothing that’ll take them beyond third place in the woeful AL Central.
Offseason grade: D-
Notable additions: Rick Ankiel, Scott Podsednik, Brian Anderson, Jason Kendall
Notable losses: Mark Teahen, Coco Crisp, Mike Jacobs, Miguel Olivo
Projected lineup, rotation and closer:
C Jason Kendall
1B Billy Butler
2B Chris Getz
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
3B Alex Gordon
LF Scott Podsednik
CF Rick Ankiel
RF David DeJesus
DH Jose Guillen
SP1 Zack Greinke
SP2 Gil Meche
SP3 Brian Bannister
SP4 Luke Hochevar
SP5 Kyle Davies
CL Joakim Soria