Making a Splash


The Royals Hot Stove has been fairly quiet lately save for the occasional tidbit about Greinke going one place and not another. Since making some minor moves earlier in the offseason, it’s been slow.

I can almost assure that news will pick up quickly starting with the Winter Meetings next week, but I like hypothesizing grand situations even when untrue. So, I got to thinking about big free agents available this offseason. My mind formed one question:

If the Royals signed one big name, who would make the most sense for the team and why?

There are only a few big names out there, but given a possibly competitive Royals team in 2012 or 2013, who would we want to sign to help the team along? After the jump, I dig into the big names and find a winner.

Here are the names I consider big free agent targets, in no particular order:

Cliff Lee

Carl Crawford

Jayson Werth

Victor Martinez

Adam Dunn

Paul Konerko

Johnny Damon

Jeff Francis

Brandon Webb

Vladimir Guerrerro

Derek Jeter

Derrek Lee

Manny Ramirez

Ben Sheets

Jim Thome

You can debate me on which ones are actually big names, but I mostly considered guys that have been good in the past and have a good chance of being productive in the coming years. Also included are big names that are nearing the end of their careers. You’ll notice that some have already been signed, but I want to take a big look at everything that has been available. The injury cases are up in the air, but they could be solid going forward. There are also no relievers, but…yeah…

So, first I want to name names that we should, under no conditions, sign this offseason given other available talent. In the list of players that are too old for their own good, we have Johnny Damon, Derek Jeter*, Manny Ramirez, and Jim Thome. You could argue they could be useful, but given that the Royals likely won’t have a shot at competing until 2012 at the very earliest, these guys will be gaining more years before their strengths would be needed.

*Granted, if we signed Jeter then it might mean that Yuni’s reign of tyranny at shortstop would finally be ending.

So, that cuts the list down to 11. Now, consider positions where we already have solid players or could have young guys reaching the big leagues in a couple years. That would knock out Dunn (1B), Konerko, Guerrerro, and Derrek Lee. Given that we have Butler and Kila right now and could potentially be throwing Hosmer at 1B in a couple years, DH and 1B seem to be taken. Now, of course Hosmer could be moved to right field, but given where everything stands right now, those guys are just going to be blocking other, younger players that the Royals will need to play.

Just 7 remain: Lee, Crawford, Werth, Martinez, Francis, Webb, and Sheets. Since I love suspense, I’m going to count these guys down in reverse order.

With a lefty-heavy system, the Royals will potentially have two-three lefties from their own system starting in a few years. That’s not enough of a reason to move him down on its own, but it’s a better reason than any I have for ranking the number 1 guy any lower.

In a sense, players like Crawford are what’s been missing from the Royals, besides a capable shortstop. We’ve had a Cy Young-winning pitcher, a very good first baseman, and middling performances at other positions. A centerpiece of an outfield has been lacking, and it’s Crawford’s potential meaning to the club that makes it easy to rank him at the top of this list.

So, what do you think? Out of the guys I’ve listed, who would you want to sign given the chance and why? Let me know in the comments.