. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Off Season off to a Frustrating Start


It’s been a sobering week for this Royals fan.

The Good Ship Royal’s biggest leak is at second base, and Detroit just upgraded at that very position.  The Tigers are actually in a position to improve by dealing Prince Fielder.  Don’t think for a second the Tigers are done dealing, because they freed up some cash when Prince was traded for Ian Kinsler.

I think Kinsler should be a Royal, not a Tiger.  The Royals could have traded Eric Hosmer for him.  Move Billy Butler to first base, sign Carlos Beltran as your DH/RF, and pay big for a top of the rotation starter.  Yeah, they should consider dealing Hosmer.  He is the most valued guy on the team, yet very replaceable.  Twenty homer, eighty RBI first baseman actually do grow on trees.  Ask Ned Yost about that tree.

So, what have they done so far? They just signed a younger version of Bruce Chen, Jason Vargas, to a 4 year deal.  He’s a great fifth starter, a pretty good fourth starter.  The Royals will lose their number two starter.  Is this the only move to be made for the rotation?  Why spend that type of money on a very low up side guy?

They just sh*t canned George Kottaras, the only guy on the team who knows what a walk looks like.  Why not boot Brett Hayes?  Why not Chris-Fricking-Getz?

This week’s transactions show just how far the Royals remain behind the class of their division.  When it comes to their talent, the Royals operate with more optimism than they should.  They put together a team that can win with several “IFs” in place.

IF Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar improve offensively, we’ll be ok.  If one of our young pitchers takes the next step, the rotation will round out.  If Emilio Bonifacio plays all year like he did the last couple months of the season, we are ok at second base.  For a team that’s had plenty of hard luck, they sure act entitled to good fortune.

When businesses reach a certain volume, they have to make large changes in order to continue growth. Moore and Glass have the team back from the dead, but that’s not good enough. The Royals need to change their business model if they want to take the next step.  They need to prepare and safeguard against a worse case scenario from their players.  They don’t have many trade chips.  They need to spend some real money, right now.

As of today, the Royals do not have enough talent to win their division.  They need to sign a major bat and another top of the line starter.  I know they won’t sign Shin-Soo Choo and Ubaldo Jimenezbut they should.  I promise if they dig their heels in and stay below the $87 Million payroll ceiling we have hear about, this team only flirts with .500.  (a ceiling that’s been reached with the likes of Vargas!)

What stings is that the money is there.

MLB just had its most profitable year on record, and every team is getting an additional $25 million in cable dollars.

Glass should and can risk losing some money for a few years.  Look, he bought the Royals  in 2000 for $96 million dollars, and they are now worth $457 million.  Maybe it’s time to invest more in the company, Mr. Glass.  Did you know that playoff games are quite profitable? Your efforts will boost attendance and merchandise sales.

How about you take your optimism away from the talent you currently have, and direct it towards your finances?  Spend your money with some of those positive assumptions you have rammed down the fan’s throats for years.

Tags: AL Central Alcides Escobar David Glass Jason Vargas Kansas City Royals Mike Moustakas Ned Yost

  • jimfetterolf

    You lost me at trading Hosmer for Kinsler. Why not throw in Duffy, Ventura, and Zimmer, also? I’m good with Bonifacio, certainly not worth multi-millions and a stud to pick up a couple of extra WAR for another couple of wins.

    • Ed Connealy

      No, no need to package young pitchers with the ReaI Hos. It would go the there way. Surprised that “lost” you. What Hosmer brings is not all that unique and we have someone that could take his place. I assume you think the Tigers were crazy for making the trade they did?

      • jimfetterolf

        Lost me as in I quit reading at that point, assuming you were a covert agent for the Tigers or Indians.

        As for the Tigers, brilliant trade to unload Fielder, his albatross of a contract, and $30m. But I wouldn’t trade Hosmer for Fielder.

        As for Boni, did alright with us, so see no need to panic. Pitching is most important at the moment and we are loaded with young guns, so I’m ready for spring training.

  • DownUnderFan

    I think you are being a little harsh, Ed. And that comes from someone who is not a solid DMGM fan.

    Face it, quality free agent starters have shown no interest to pitch in KC. If they did, one of Santana, Hudson, Johnson or Hughes would have signed by now. Whether it is lack of money, management, or offense is not answered.

    But Vargas seems genuinely happy to sign and $8M a year is not a stretch. Yes, Moore gave one too many years. The 4th year should have been a vested option based on innings pitched the first 3 years. But the deal is done so accept it. And realize Vargas may not stay in KC the full 4 years if some combination of Duffy, Ventura, Zimmer, Dwyer, Smith, Manacea or Almonte reach their capabilities.

    Vargas is better than Chen but not near the same as Santana. So we got half what the team needs to equalize 2013. Maybe there will be another deal. For me, I hope any further deals are for hitters and let the young kids prove their worth on the mound. Course, added hitters will not improve the offense until Ned gets his sticky fingers out of the hitting philosophy. But that is an argument for another day.

    Bottom line, this is not a terrible signing and it is not a great signing. But it is a good signing to fill a known gap. I just hope Dayton has the freedom to make other moves to improve the team without giving up too much to get them.

    • Ed Connealy

      I think we have plenty of 4th and 5th starter candidates in house for less money, but no true top of the rotation guys. It’s not a bad signing if done a year ago, but I would have much rather seen those funds go to a big bat or a top of the line guy.

      • Ed Connealy

        So, to a point, we agree. I hope they are NOT done dealing and do get a serious bat. If they do, the Vargas signing looks much better than it does today.

  • Chad Woelk

    Trade Hosmer for Kinsler. Wow. Im done reading

    • Ed Connealy

      Really? You think Hosmer’s production ( from a 1st Baseman) is so unique it’s not worth considering moving him in a package deal? In know he costs less than Prince Fielder, but do you think he’s better than Prince?

      • flan50

        Down the road he might be. I think KC has to hold on to last year and see if the second half can be translated to a full season. if so, he’s the only player on the Royals’ roster who could be a future MVP type player. Not out of the realm of possibility he can still become a 30 HR, 60 extra-base hit, 100+ RBI, high average/OBP guy with Gold Glove skills. Those guys aren’t easy to find, if so. Couple that with Kinsler’s declining value, especially if he came to Kaufman Stadium. Nothing personal, just can’t wrap my head around that.

      • Chad Woelk

        Butler can not play first base period. Hosmer is a gold glove first baseman and his bat is way too valuable to the team. The cost on Hosmer is so affordable right now that it would be foolish to trade away our best hitter and future All Star. Everyone has an opinion though and nothing wrong with that.

  • Ed Connealy

    The main point: The Royals need to ( and could) spend more at this point in the process ,and it’s looking like they just won’t. So we are left to argue about guys like Bonifacio, Vargas, and potential trades of our best hitter.

    • jimfetterolf

      Ed, maybe you’re new to the market but Dayton Moore plays his cards close and uses Bob Dayton for media distraction. We have no idea what Moore will do, what we do know is that he has money available for the right player, no matter what the Star passes on about payroll. What we also know is that there will be serious salary inflation this year with the new money and agents are asking for the moon and stars.

      On trading Hosmer, might work if you’re the Yankees or something, but better for the Royals is trading Gordon for a bunch of prospects including a 2nd baseman. That’s what Tampa would do and is best with a small market business model. David Lough just moves to left, having the weakest arm of the five OFs, and we keep a relatively cheap franchise foundation piece for a few more years ’til he gets expensive, then we trade him for prospects.

      • unclejesse40

        Jim I totally agree with you on this point. I have always felt that the royals need to be the best in MLB at getting max value for players in trades. Many fans hate to think this way but the fact that free agents are getting more expensive every year, you will see trade value catching up and certain teams will overvalue major league talents while undervaluing their own home grown talent. At this point the royals can stock a minor league system that routinely puts two three good players in the bigs every year. So the question is whos stock on the current Royals team can’t get much higher? TRADE THEM NOW!

  • flan50

    I agree it has been a bleak offseason so far. Of course, I’m not surprised. Disappointed again, but not surprised. But, no, I can’t agree with the idea of dealing Hosmer, especially for a 2nd baseman likely on the decline, who would be coming to a home park that doesn’t fir him nearly as well as the one he’s played in. Seriously, I love Billy and I want him as our DH, but can you imagine a FULL season of him at 1st base? Yikes! I think we need to see if Hoss blows up this year. If he puts it together from the start and fulfills his potential, you might have a 30 homer, 60 extra-base hit, 100+ RBI guy with a high average and good strike zone judgement. No, those guys don’t grow on trees. It would have been more prudent to go after Infante at 2nd base. I also agree with Rany that Hughes should have been the pitching target. You at least would have a guy with upside there who Eiland may have a chance to resurrect. I think the Royals could trade for a RF upgrade, using Holland or Hochever, along with a prospect. And, finally, I do agree, releasing Kotteras is just further proof of how clueless this front office really is. Saving about $300,000? Are you kidding me?

  • moretrouble

    If your main point is KC needs to spend more money, I agree with you. To get from 86 to, say 94 for instance, might take a significant bump in payroll. But, I disagree (respectfully) somewhat with your plan to get there.

    If, as you put it, 1st basemen do grow on trees, then KC might not get full value from trading Hosmer. Why not sign Beltran, keep Hosmer and Butler. KC ends up with a nice middle of the order trio of hitters.

    I’m not suggesting that KC keep Bonifacio as their regular 2 baseman, but he did have a break-out season in 2011, played hurt in 2012, and didn’t get regular playing time in Toronto in 13. The Emilio KC fans saw may be able to duplicate his 2011 season next year. While Kinsler would be a great addition, it would be at the subtraction of Hosmer. Why subtract anything?

    Signing Vargas as a Chen replacement gives KC an off-speed pitcher in a rotation of hard throwers, plus he can throw 200 innings where Chen could not. I think using Duffy and Ventura minimizes the need for Santana if they can get innings from Vargas.

    One aspect about money I’d like to add is this: for Glass to realize his appreciated value, he’d have to sell the club or leverage it for credit. Otherwise, KC lives on it’s earnings year to year.

    People tend to ignore KC’s great 2nd half record last year and focus instead on their overall record. Fans saw a different team in the second half; one that had all the confidence of a pennant contender. I think that will continue from day one next season. And, if Glass will help them sign a hitter, they’re looking more like a playoff team than a 500 ballclub.