Category Archives: Kansas City Royals

Kansas City has tough decisions ahead

Only a couple of years ago, the Kansas City Royals were probably the best team in baseball, but a lot has changed since then and now the team has many tough decisions to make very soon. The Royals have basically the same core of players that it had in 2015, but those players just haven’t stepped up this year as they find themselves now as one of the worst teams in all of baseball with a 11-20 record so far this year. What’s most concerning for the Royals is the key players that are all set to leave after this season. Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, and Jason Vargas are all free agents after the season. However, there is virtually no way that they will be able to keep all of those players around next season. That means they will either keep a few of those guys and be stuck in mediocrity for many years to come or they can trade most of those players before the trade deadline and start a lengthy rebuild. Neither of those options is good for Kansas City, but it is time for this team to start building their future. The Royals best option right now is probably to just start the lengthy rebuild and trade away many veteran players before they are lost in free agency for nothing. Kansas City has Salvador Perez, Alex Gordon, Jorge Soler, and Danny Duffy under contract for several years. However, those players are more of complementary players and none can carry the team by themselves. Meanwhile, the Royals need to at least get something by trading away players that are set to hit free agency like Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, and Jason Vargas. The only player that the Royals should try hard to retain is 1st baseman Eric Hosmer who is set to hit free agency as well this offseason. Hosmer is pretty much the only power threat in the Royals lineup and he is still young enough that he could be a big part of their future when the team is ready to contend again. The only issue is that he will probably want to join a contender this offseason rather than staying in Kansas City for a lengthy rebuild. Either way, the Royals need to sell off any veterans that they can this season in order to try and rebuild their farm system with young prospects. However, this team is several years from being relevant again even if they begin the rebuilding process soon.

eric hosmer

3 Takeways from opening day

3. The San Diego Padres are a worse team than we expected

There aren’t very high expectations heading into the season as they are terrible in every aspect of their roster. However, opening day just proved how terrible this team will likely be this season and they could even be worse than I expected. San Diego lost 14-3 to the division rival Los Angeles Dodgers on opening day. Sure, the Dodgers could compete for a world series this year, but there is never an excuse for a team to allow 14 runs on opening day. Jhoulys Chacin is supposedly the team’s best starting pitcher and if he is the best that they have then I don’t really want to see their worst pitcher because he allowed 9 runs in just 3.1 innings of work. The bullpen for the Padres wasn’t much better, so there doesn’t look to be much hope for the Padres pitching staff. San Diego didn’t do well offensively either, but I expected that considering that they were facing Clayton Kershaw. However, the Padres are basically a minor league team playing at the major league level and they had many players playing today with very little MLB experience. San Diego should be a better team as the season goes on, but right now I’m not sure they even deserve to compete at the MLB level because they looked awful on opening today.

2. Blake Treinen surprisingly could be a good closer for the Nationals

The Nationals had a major question mark as to who their closer would be heading into this season after elite closer Mark Melancon left in free agency. Blake Treinen was just recently named the team’s closer and he certainly didn’t disappoint on opening day. Treinen was faced with a save situation and he made it look easy as he had 2 strikeouts to close out the Marlins in a 4-2 victory on Monday. Treinen faced three really tough hitters and he made them look foolish. It is only opening day, so Treinen could still get worse, but at least he eased some of the concern in the closer role for now.

1. Kansas City might be rebuilding soon once again

Just a couple of years ago, the Kansas City Royals were the best team in the MLB and yet they now are showing signs that they aren’t even contenders anymore. Kansas City suffered an embarrassing loss on opening day as the lowly Minnesota Twins demolished the Royals 7-1. Danny Duffy was outstanding for the Royals, but after he left the game the Royals just completely fell apart. Kansas City’s bullpen was terrible as they allowed 6 runs in only 2 innings of work combined and that is a concern as that has been the strength of their team in recent years. Also, the offense only managed 1 run on 3 hits against a Twins pitching staff that isn’t very overpowering. Kansas City has a lot of key players hitting free agency after the season, so they might have to start trading away players and start rebuilding once again this year. The Royals have many areas to improve in order to contend and they can’t lose to teams like Minnesota if they want to have any chance of making the playoffs in 2017.

 

Season Outlook: Kansas City Royals

Projected 2017 Starting Lineup:

  1. Alcides Escobar – Shortstop
  2. Mike Moustakas – 3rd baseman
  3. Lorenzo Cain – Center Fielder
  4. Eric Hosmer – 1st baseman
  5. Salvador Perez – Catcher
  6. Alex Gordon – Left Fielder
  7. Jorge Soler – Right Fielder
  8. Brandon Moss – Designated Hitter
  9. Raul Mondesi – 2nd baseman

Projected 2017 Starting Rotation:

  1. Danny Duffy
  2. Ian Kennedy
  3. Jason Vargas
  4. Jason Hammel
  5. Travis Wood

Season Outlook:

The Royals have basically the same lineup that they had when they won the world series in 2015. Kansas City has all of the talent offensively especially with Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez. The Royals also have very good offensive players like Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, and Alcides Escobar. Really there isn’t much of a weakness offensively for the Royals except for at 2nd base with the unproven Raul Mondesi. The question for the Royals will be whether they can score runs consistently.  The Royals have a very talented lineup, but we’ll see how consistent they can be. Meanwhile, the starting rotation is what is holding the Royals back and it could be even worse after the tragic death of young pitcher Yordano Ventura this offseason. Danny Duffy is clearly the best pitcher for Kansas City as he went 12-3 with a 3.51 ERA last season. However, the rest of the rotation is certainly experienced, yet they don’t provide the consistency that the Royals need. Vargas, Kennedy, Hammel, and Wood all have to be more consistent if the Royals want to be a playoff team. The Royals bullpen isn’t as strong  as it was the past few seasons after they traded star closer Wade Davis this offseason. However, new closer Kelvin Herrera and 8th inning guy Joakim Soria both provide a lot of stability to the bullpen still. Kansas City could contend for a playoff spot in 2017, but they will need more from their pitching in order to do so.

Prediction: 3rd place in the AL Central

eric-hosmer

Diamondbacks trade O’Brien to the Royals

The Kansas City Royals made a relatively minor trade on Tuesday as they acquired outfielder Peter O’Brien from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for right-handed pitcher Sam Lewis.

Royals evaluation:

The Royals have been looking for younger talent at the major league level and this trade accomplishes that goal as Peter O’Brien is only 26 years old. O’Brien is well known for his power as he has hit 84 home runs the past 3 seasons in the minor leagues. He has shown that type of power ability at the MLB level as well, but he has struggled to hit consistently in the MLB as he only has a .176 average. O’Brien gives the Royals an option at designated hitter for next season and he gives the team just some outfield depth overall. He might start next season in Triple-A, but ultimately he will be with the Royals at some point. O’Brien has great potential and if he can find a way to hit more consistently then this could be a great trade for Kansas City especially since they gave up a low-level pitching prospect to get him. It is a low risk trade for Kansas City that could turn into a high reward very soon.

Grade: B

Diamondbacks evaluation:

The Diamondbacks had already designated Peter O’Brien for assignment, so it was clear that he was not going to be part of their future. O’Brien had already proven himself in the minor leagues, but he didn’t do much for the Diamondbacks when he was called up. Arizona isn’t getting much in return for O’Brien, but it was good that they could get something in return for O’Brien. Sam Lewis is a right-handed pitcher that has been in the Royals minor league system since 2012 when he was signed as an undrafted free agent. However, Lewis hasn’t made it very far in the minor leagues as he only was in Class A last season, although he did put up a respectable 2.17 ERA in 2016. We’ll see if he moves up to the Double-A level in 2017, but either way he still several years away from reaching the MLB. The Diamondbacks need to develop Lewis quite a bit, but it is worth getting him since the team was likely going to release Peter O’Brien anyway. This is just an average trade for Arizona as it doesn’t help them any, but I give them credit for at least acquiring something for a player that they were releasing anyway.

Grade: C+

peter-obrien

Biggest need remaining for every AL Central team

Chicago White Sox – Biggest need: Centerfielder

This team has needs all over the place especially after trading away Adam Eaton and Chris Sale this offseason. However, the centerfield position seems to be a complete mystery for the White Sox heading into 2017. Adam Eaton was supposed to be in that role, but now that he was traded away then the team doesn’t have much left. Charles Tilson and Leury Garcia will compete for the starting job, but neither player has much MLB experience. Tilson has only 2 at-bats at the MLB level and Garcia has had a little more experience, but he is a career .188 hitter in 308 at-bats. Tilson figures to be the starter as of right now, although it would be smart for the White Sox to bring in a more experienced centerfielder as a temporary solution.

Cleveland Indians – Biggest need: Centerfielder

Cleveland doesn’t seem to be interested in re-signing last year’s starter in centerfield Rajai Davis, so it likely means the team will have a new starter at that position in 2017. Tyler Naquin is projected to be the team’s starting centerfielder, but he hit only .174 in 23 at-bats for Cleveland last season. The Indians should probably bring in some more depth at the position because who knows how well Naquin will perform as the everyday centerfielder.

Detroit Tigers – Biggest need: Centerfielder

The Tigers traded away Cameron Maybin who was the starter in centerfield for the team last season. However, the issue is that the team hasn’t found a decent replacement for Maybin as they are projected to have the inexperienced JaCoby Jones as the starter in 2017. Jones only has 28 career at-bats and he has only hit .214, so it is a complete unknown as to how well he’ll play at that position. The team also has Tyler Collins and Anthony Gose as options in centerfield, but neither of those guys is exciting.

Kansas City Royals – Biggest need: 2nd base

The Royals have 3 young players that could win the starting 2nd base job for the Royals in 2017, but none of the players are great options. Whit Merrifield will probably be the starter at 2nd base, but he only has one career season of experience as he hit .283 with 2 home runs. Christian Colon and Raul Mondesi both have more experience than Merrifield, but Mondesi is just a .185 career hitter and Colon is a .268 career hitter. Kansas City should at least add a veteran 2nd baseman in order to compete with Merrifield.

Minnesota Twins – Biggest need: Centerfielder

It wasn’t too long ago that centerfielder Byron Buxton was the top prospect in all of the MLB, but he has struggled tremendously to start his career. Buxton had 10 home runs with a .225 average last season for the Twins and the team is hoping that he can develop some more in 2017. Buxton can make remarkable defensive plays at times in centerfield, but it doesn’t matter much if he can’t produce consistently on offense. Danny Santana is a decent backup, but he isn’t nearly as talented as Buxton is. The Twins should sign a veteran centerfielder just in case Buxton struggles again in 2017.

Royals trade Wade Davis to the Cubs

The Chicago Cubs have seemingly been making at least one big move each offseason the past few years. They continued that trend on Wednesday by acquiring closer Wade Davis from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for outfielder Jorge Soler.

Cubs evaluation:

The Cubs had a really good closer with Aroldis Chapman last season and that’s maybe the one reason that they won the world series. However, with Chapman now gone then the Cubs badly needed a new closer. That is why the team decided to trade for Wade Davis from the Royals. Davis has been one of the best closers in the game the past few seasons as proven by his remarkable ERA since 2014. He clearly has the production to be considered the top closer in the MLB as he had a 1.00 ERA in 2014, a 0.94 ERA in 2015, and a 1.87 ERA in 2016. Davis doesn’t have the power arm that Chapman does obviously, yet Davis just is a veteran closer that finds a way to get the job done. He also was a key part of the Royals 2015 world series championship and the Cubs are going to be a playoff time as well in 2017. Chicago is hoping that he’ll show up and play really well in the postseason just like he did with Kansas City in 2015. The Cubs traded away Jorge Soler who is a really talented 24-year old outfielder. However, the Cubs have such a stacked roster especially in the outfield that they wouldn’t have been able to provide him quality playing time anyway. It makes sense to get rid of Soler and give him an opportunity for more playing time with the Royals, although he is still really talented and he could turn out to be a very good MLB player. Overall, the Cubs have probably the most complete roster in the MLB and don’t be surprised if they are playing for a world series title once again in 2017. They will need Davis to be the player that he was with the Royals and if he can be that type of player then this team will be hard to beat.

Grade: A

Royals evaluation:

This move was probably a really tough decision for the Royals considering how great Wade Davis has been for their team for the past few years. However, Kansas City is looking for younger and cheaper players which is why they wanted Soler. He is under contract for the next 4 years for Kansas City at an extremely cheap price. Soler will only be making $3 million next season for the Royals which is a bargain considering how talented he is. The Royals badly needed a starting right fielder and Soler will certainly fill that need. Soler has shown tremendous power in limited playing time so far in his career. He hit 12 home runs in just 227 at-bats with the Cubs last season, but he does have a tendency to strike out a lot. He won’t bring much speed to the Royals as he only has 4 career stolen bases, although he does bring a solid arm and defensive skills to right field for the Royals. Soler is ready to contribute to Kansas City immediately, yet he still has a lot of room for improvement. We’ll see if Soler can turn into a really good player by putting his talent together, but he certainly makes the Royals outfield appear excellent for 2017. Losing Davis means the Royals bullpen will obviously be weaker than last season. However, the team still has Kelvin Herrera and Joakim Soria as solid late inning options in the Royals bullpen. This trade accomplishes Kansas City’s goal of getting some more young and cheap talent so that they can compete for many years. It was a tough trade to make, but it was a good trade since they are getting some young talent while also staying competitive.

Grade: B+

wade-davis

Free Agent that every AL Central team should re-sign.

Chicago White Sox – Alex Avila – Catcher – 2016: .213 avg. and 7 home runs

Alex Avila isn’t even close to being the all-star caliber catcher that he was during the 2011 season with the Detroit Tigers. However, Avila still has pretty good power for a catcher and he is still probably worth the White Sox re-signing because he can be a useful backup catcher at least. It’s difficult to find quality catchers these days and bringing back Avila at least as a backup would be a good move since he will be cheap to re-sign and he still has a lot of talent even though he has struggled in recent years.

Cleveland Indians – Mike Napoli – 1st baseman – 2016: .239 avg. and 34 home runs

Napoli was probably the one player that turned Cleveland from not just a playoff contender, but rather into a world series team. Napoli hit 34 home runs last season and he was the consistent power source that the Indians had been lacking in previous years. Napoli is 35 years old which means he won’t be getting a very long deal this offseason, yet it is worth it for Cleveland to keep him for at least another year or two.

Detroit Tigers – Jarrod Saltalamacchia – Catcher – 2016: .171 avg. and 12 home runs

In no way should Jarrod Saltalamacchia be a starting catcher on any team in the MLB. However, he still has a lot of value as a backup that has a ton of power left in his bat as proven by his 12 home runs despite receiving a part-time role. The average for Saltalamacchia is horrible as he hit .171 for the Tigers in 2016. However, he can be brought back at a cheap price and he could be useful coming off the bench.

Kansas City Royals – Greg Holland – Relief Pitcher – 2016: None

Holland didn’t play at all last season because he had Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm. However, when he is healthy, Holland has proven that he can easily be one of the top relief pitchers in all of the MLB. He is effective either as a setup man or a closer, but he would provide even more stability to the Royals bullpen at a bargain price. Kansas City has a tremendous bullpen even without Holland, but the Royals should definitely consider re-signing him since they will be getting a top-end relief pitcher for a cheap price. I have no idea how the Royals could possibly turn that down.

Minnesota Twins – Kurt Suzuki – Catcher – 2016: .258 avg. and 8 home runs

Kurt Suzuki has never been a flashy player, yet the one thing that he has always provided is consistent offensive production. Consistency is the main thing that Minnesota is lacking at pretty much every position which is why there a terrible team last year. However, it’s hard to find a more reliable catcher than Suzuki these days and combine that with the veteran leadership that he provides the Twins and they would be foolish to let him go.