It seems as though the Royals are done with any offseason moves. By this point, most of the big free agents have signed. The key figures who had trade rumors floating around them have either been traded or their place on their team has solidified. Really, there’s just not a lot out there at the moment.
So far this offseason the Royals have:
- Fired Kevin Seitzer and replaced him with two pitching coaches with an idea to pull more and go for more homers.
- Let Joakim Soria go. He’s since signed with the Rangers.
- Picked up Chris Volstad on waivers. The fanbase panicked. Weeks later, they cut him loose again. The fanbase breathed a sigh of relief.
- Traded Brandon Sisk for Ervin Santana. A worthy gamble, though pricey.
- Re-signed Jeremy Guthrie. Nobody actually wanted Santana as the top pitching option.
- Offered arbitration to Luke Hochevar, though no agreement has been reached yet. Came to agreements with Felipe Paulino and Chris Getz.
- Cleaned up the 40 man roster, including trading away Tommy Hottovy and Jeremy Jeffress. They also sent Vin Mazzaro and Clint Robinson to Pittsburgh for some fringe minor leaguers. Brayan Pena became a free agent after parts of five seasons in the Royals organization.
- Took a shot on some minor league free agents, including Brandon Wood, George Sherrill, Xavier Nady, Dan Wheeler and Willy Taveras.
- Traded Wil Myers, Mike Montgomery, Jake Odorizzi and Patrick Leonard to Tampa for James Shields and Wade Davis.
Some of the areas they still want to address are backup shortstop and outfield depth. They’re very unlikely to add more payroll to the big league roster at this point by many indications, as they’re supposedly over a break-even point as it is at around $82 million. That really limits the Royals options.
I’d love to see the Royals go give Shaun Marcum a shot. He’s been very good when healthy, but apparently his medical reports are scaring teams away. There could still be an opportunity to get him a low-guaranteed value deal with incentives, but it may still be in the $5 million range at the least. Bob Dutton doesn’t think there’s any chance of that, and I have to agree, even if I like the idea of it a lot. One would hope that a marginal payroll increase on a deal like that would end up being fine if it could mean more wins, but it’s a business, so that doesn’t happen all the time. I can’t be the only one who likes the idea of a Shields/Marcum/Guthrie/Santana/Davis rotation.
As far as the shortstop question, they’re looking for more of a shortstop glove. I think they’ll roll with Irving Falu if it comes to it, but he’s on shaky ground if they can find someone who fits what they want. Falu’s better at second base. Jason Bartlett would probably be the best option for the backup role among remaining free agents, though his best years are well behind him. Cesar Izturis is out there too. Neither player would be very productive at the plate, though.
The idea is out there that Jeff Francoeur has a short leash. If he’s more 2012 Frenchy than 2011 Frenchy, he might get a couple of months, maximum. If he’s 2011 Frenchy, he’s palatable. Seems like the Royals would like to have someone in mind to be ready in the event they have to make a change. The upper minors are pretty thin in outfielders who look like everyday options, so an grouping of Alex Gordon in left, Jarrod Dyson in center and Lorenzo Cain in right with David Lough as the fourth outfielder might be the answer if Francoeur needs to be replaced. A trade is possible too.
So it’s more of a holding pattern. There’s a very good chance that the roster today is close to the roster after spring training. That’s good in the sense that there are so many position players in place and the bullpen didn’t experience much turnover. It’s bad in that there’s still room to improve.