For most teams, the Winter Meetings were calm, quiet, and frankly, boring.
Even for the Royals, who were mentioned about once an hour in some rumor involving a pitcher, it was an uneventful week but only because no moves were actually made. Dozens were rumored, and while most fizzled out shortly after they started.
The big rumor, and one that nearly blew up last night, was the James Shields trade rumor. Early this morning, Dayton Moore and company left Nashville for home with nothing agreed to. Reports are that both sides are still considering and will continue discussing the deal. If you believe that the Royals are one good pitcher away from the playoffs and if you believe that Shields is an ace, then it’s a big move. There’s an argument against Shields as an ace, though, and I still think the Royals are better off letting other options be completely exhausted before making such a move.
Danny Knobler of CBS Sports passed along word that the Detroit Tigers are afraid the Royals will get Shields and become a threat – though it’s not altogether cynical for someone to say that it’s a ruse by the Tigers to bait the Royals into taking a move that may not actually make them a threat.
The R.A. Dickey rumors went completely silent on Thursday, though there was a mention that the Royals discussed Jonathan Niese or Zack Wheeler with the Mets. Wheeler was their top prospect before 2012 according to Baseball America and Niese is a young and improving starter who’s got a good contract with plenty of years ahead of him.
There was a fairly random rumor that the Cardinals may have discussed Chris Getz as a utility infielder trade option, which is odd, since Getz isn’t a utility infielder. But I think many Royals fans would gladly pass Getz to the other Missouri team. This rumor didn’t go anywhere.
A move that may end up having some teeth to it is the Royals pursuit of Ryan Dempster. Bob Dutton had previously reported that the Royals had offered him two years at $26 million. On Wednesday, it seemed like the Royals might entertain a third year for a $39 million total contract value. Dutton still says they aren’t changing their stance. The Royals were said to be looking at secondary options like Jair Jurrjens, Brett Myers or Kevin Correia to fill out their rotation, though Dutton also dismissed that idea, stating that Kansas City is only looking at pitchers who can lead a rotation.
The Royals are reportedly close to their player salary budget when considering the full 40 man roster. Earlier reports had indicated a much more stark difference between David Glass’s “break even” point and where the Royals payroll was headed. Dutton’s initial report was revised and the Royals have two million dollars to play with before hitting the $70 million soft cap that’s been tossed around. Glass has said he’s open to adding payroll for a necessary move, but it’s fair to be skeptical. It certainly feels like Glass can spend more for a difference maker, and I’m not sure many in Kansas City are really concerned whether he breaks even or not…
Finally, the meetings wrapped up with the Rule 5 draft. The Royals had a full roster and no room to select anyone, but they did have five minor leaguers selected. Jen has the full list and details here.