Did The Kansas City Royals Cripple Their Farm System?

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Feb 27, 2015; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher

Miguel Almonte

poses for a portrait during photo day at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, the Kansas City Royals appear to need starting pitching next season. Dayton Moore is unlikely to re-sign Johnny Cueto since he could command up to $200 million. Jason Vargas will be lost most of next season recovering from Tommy John surgery. Jeremy Guthrie‘s contract expires next season, though the parties have a “mutual option” in 2016. With Guthrie wheezing to the finish line of his contract, I don’t see him as a candidate to return.

While it isn’t exactly dry. the minor league pipeline might not be a good match for the team’s immediate needs. Aside from Zimmer, the pitchers most likely to help the KC Royals next season are Brian Flynn (who has missed most of 2015 with a latissimus dorsi injury (shoulder muscle), and 22-year-old Miguel Almonte (who just was promoted to AAA).

Almonte is a top prospect whose results have not matched his stuff. He had a 4.03 ERA and 7.4 K/9 at AA NW Arkansas, and a 1.80 ERA and 9.6 K/9 in two starts at AAA Omaha. While his early success with the Stormchasers looks hopeful, I think holding down a rotation spot for the Kansas City Royals next season is a bit too much to ask.

The 24-year-old Flynn, meanwhile, whom the KC Royals obtained in exchange for Aaron Crow this winter, is major-league ready (presuming he recovers from his shoulder injury) but has only a bottom-of-the-rotation upside.

So, yes, acquiring Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist was expensive. But, I don’t think it limited the Kansas City Royals future to a narrow window. Yes, it will be more challenging to replace prospects now that Moore is picking at the bottom of the draft, but he can cash in established players like Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer as they approach free-agency to restock the system.

The fact is, Dayton Moore had better training in sustaining a winning program than any other major-league executive by sitting at John Schuerholz’s elbow while he won 14 straight division titles in Atlanta. I have far more confidence in Moore’s ability to keep the Kansas City Royals rolling than I did in 2006 of him building a winner when he arrived in KC.

Next: Royals Might Not Be Done Upgrading Roster

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