Royals Winter Meetings Preview


Today, many executives, writers and agents are on their way to Dallas, Texas for baseball’s winter meetings. While trades are allowed at the conclusion of the World Series and free agent signings start up in November, a lot of the action picks up during that week when general managers are all packed in a hotel with each other with nothing to do but talk about players from Monday through Thursday.

Last year, the Royals were busy, signing Jeff Francoeur, Melky Cabrera and selected Nathan Adcock in the Rule 5 draft. They also set the ground work for the Zack Greinke trade that brought Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress, Lorenzo Cain and Jake Odorizzi into the organization.

This year, after signing Jonathan Broxton and trading for Jonathan Sanchez, and with most of the lineup being homegrown and installed late last year, the Royals seem to have a quieter week ahead than most teams.

They have contacted Roy Oswalt‘s agent previously and were one of many teams in on Mark Buehrle, but the market for both starters will be strong and the Royals probably won’t even make an official offer. They’re backing off because they have many young starters coming up from the minors and want to retain flexibility with the realization that not all of them will work out, according to Ken Rosenthal.

Dayton Moore did mention that they might look for an option to back up Mike Moustakas at third base and a shortstop backup for Escobar. In an interview on Sirius XM Radio, he suggested that if the Royals upgrade their rotation, it’s likely to be via trade. Buster Olney reported that they may look for a utility player with a preference towards one who can hit left-handed.

Other questions for the Royals are what to do with Brayan Pena, Mitch Maier and Chris Getz. They may choose to overhaul their entire bench, though all three are under arbitration and relatively cheap and productive. The Royals have options in house for those spots if they do make a change.

Yamaico Navarro can play multiple infield spots but may stay in Omaha to get regular playing time. Irving Falu is back with the organization and has played almost everywhere on the field in the minors. He’s a decent contact hitter but lacks power and at 28 years old, isn’t likely to improve upon his minor league performance.

Manuel Pina might be an option to back up Salvador Perez, but it’s rare for teams to have two rookie catchers on their team at the same time. He’s better off playing every day in Omaha as well. Mitch Maier may be replaced by David Lough who looks ready for an opportunity in the big leagues, though he’d only be on the bench if the Royals stick with Lorenzo Cain as their everyday center fielder. That makes Jarrod Dyson an option as well.

Some names that have been floated out there that the Royals may have interest in as reserve infielders are Ryan Theriot and Andres Blanco. Theriot only bats right-handed and may not want a reserve role, but Blanco is a popular choice and can switch-hit.

With a deep bullpen and various pitchers vying for rotation spots, unless the right player is there, the Royals are probably not going to select anybody from the Rule 5 draft this year. Since they’d have to keep them on the active roster all year to keep them (like Adcock last season), they just don’t have the spot to use on someone unless they’ll be contributing often. Adcock made it all year with the team, but went through stretches where he wouldn’t pitch for weeks.

The front office is usually pretty good at plugging leaks around this time of year. There wasn’t much reported about the Royals being heavily interested in Sanchez or Broxton until they’d  already acquired them. There might be something in the works that nobody expects.

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Chris Getz Dayton Moore Kansas City Royals KC KC Royals MLB Royals

  • jim fetterolf

    Falu looks good for a utility guy, hits righties 100 points better than lefties. baseball reference shows him historically strongest fielding at 2B and below average at SS, but versatility and price make him a possibility, especially if Yam Navarro is kept at Omaha to transition to 2nd. I think Dyson stays over Lough due to defense and speed and Pena stays because he’s a switch hitter and his defense improved last year. Those three will probably be enough, so I expect an eight-man bullpen to cover for our high pitch-count SPs.

  • michael.allen.engel

    @jim fetterolf Yeah that all sounds about right. Pena is just fine for a second catcher…reasonable defensively and can hit better than most backups. if it’s anything like last year, not sure how much the Royals will use their bench if there aren’t any injuries anyway.

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  • jim fetterolf

    Falu looks good for a utility guy, hits righties 100 points better than lefties. baseball reference shows him historically strongest fielding at 2B and below average at SS, but versatility and price make him a possibility, especially if Yam Navarro is kept at Omaha to transition to 2nd. I think Dyson stays over Lough due to defense and speed and Pena stays because he’s a switch hitter and his defense improved last year. Those three will probably be enough, so I expect an eight-man bullpen to cover for our high pitch-count SPs.

  • michael.allen.engel

    @jim fetterolf Yeah that all sounds about right. Pena is just fine for a second catcher…reasonable defensively and can hit better than most backups. if it’s anything like last year, not sure how much the Royals will use their bench if there aren’t any injuries anyway.

  • jim fetterolf

    @michael.allen.engel I think we can assume that Pena gets twenty starts, that Falu will be a late inning pinch hitter and defensive replacement for Giavotella, and that Dyson will be used to give Francoeur a day off against dominant RHPs, as well as late inning pinch running. As a middle-infielder who hits best left-handed, Falu probably gets in the most games, fifty to sixty being my guess. Against a pitcher like Verlander we’re likely to see all three on the field at once.

  • michael.allen.engel

    @jim fetterolf While I bet they’ll find a spot for Dyson…pinch-hitting is never a good way to use him. I like his speed, his defense…but he can’t hit, won’t hit and I think he has more value as a pinch-runner. Can’t steal first base, and all that.

    I want to see Falu get a shot though they’d have to open up a spot on the 40 man for him. I guess Aaron Laffey’s the most likely to go, but they’ll give him a look at spring training before they do that, I’d imagine. Give him the chance at least.

  • jim fetterolf

    @michael.allen.engel I think we can assume that Pena gets twenty starts, that Falu will be a late inning pinch hitter and defensive replacement for Giavotella, and that Dyson will be used to give Francoeur a day off against dominant RHPs, as well as late inning pinch running. As a middle-infielder who hits best left-handed, Falu probably gets in the most games, fifty to sixty being my guess. Against a pitcher like Verlander we’re likely to see all three on the field at once.

  • michael.allen.engel

    @jim fetterolf While I bet they’ll find a spot for Dyson…pinch-hitting is never a good way to use him. I like his speed, his defense…but he can’t hit, won’t hit and I think he has more value as a pinch-runner. Can’t steal first base, and all that.

    I want to see Falu get a shot though they’d have to open up a spot on the 40 man for him. I guess Aaron Laffey’s the most likely to go, but they’ll give him a look at spring training before they do that, I’d imagine. Give him the chance at least.