Kansas City Royals ‘Forever Royal’ Candidates
By David Hill
“Forever Royal.” This is the slogan of the Kansas City Royals for the 2015 season. It is certainly an interesting slogan, a play on last year’s “Be Royal” theme and a way to look back while looking forward. It is a slogan that seemingly carries the expectation of success without actually saying anything. It is simple, yet complex. It is, quite possibly, the perfect slogan.
The concept of “Forever Royal” is an interesting one when it comes down to the player level, however. When one thinks of life long Royals, the players that come to mind are ones like George Brett, Frank White and Willie Wilson. Perhaps the most modern player considered a lifetime member of the Kansas City Royals, at least at this point, might be Mike Sweeney. There certainly have not been many people ready to be anointed as lifetime, or ‘forever,’ Royals in the past couple of decades.
While the Royals lost Billy Butler, who may well have fit that description, that does not mean they are devoid of candidates to carry the mantle. It has been a long time since there appeared to be a viable chance that a group of players could carry on the mantle of Brett, White, Wilson and Paul Splittorff. Those days where the top players on the Royals were sent away for prospects and cost control appear to be over.
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Who could be these ‘forever’ members of the Kansas City Royals? Alex Gordon would certainly appear to be an obvious candidate. The longest tenured Royal now that Butler is gone, Gordon managed to go from someone who seemed destined to go down in history as a colossal first round bust to one of the best left fielders in the game today. The American League Gold Glove award for left should just be handed to Gordon at the start of each season, with everyone else fighting for second. Signed through this season, and holding a player option for the 2016 season, Gordon would be prefect to extend and cement as a lifetime member of the Royals.
With the tradition of excellent closers on the Kansas City Royals, from Dan Quisenberry to Jeff Montgomery to Joakim Soria, current closer Greg Holland could be another possibility. In his second trek through arbitration, Holland is likely to receive a significant raise over the $4.675 Million he earned last year. Even though closers can be extremely volatile creatures, why not give one of the most dominant relievers in baseball a long term extension?
If one really wants to look in the future, what about Salvador Perez? Yes, he is locked up through the 2019 season, but a having a long term extension in place does not necessitate that another extension cannot be hammered out. Look at the Rays and Evan Longoria. Even with one long term agreement in place, they put together a second, making certain that their cornerstone will be a Ray for life. In another few years, maybe in 2017 or 2018, the Royals may want to consider the same plan with Perez.
These are just a few ideas as to players who could be “Forever Royal.” With a team that is still quite young, there are going to be plenty of candidates. Who would you like to see the Kansas City Royals lock in, seemingly to retire as a member of the Royals? Let us know in the comments!