Breaking up is hard to do. It shouldn’t have to be, but when you’ve got memories that include breaking a 30-year run without a World Series, it’s only right to grow attached. Fortunately, I’m here to help KC Royals fans navigate this potential disaster.
Break up the KC Royals.
(Wait. That came out wrong.)
Set the current KC Royals roster on fire, push it down a hill in a trash can, then break it into 100,000 little pieces with a sledgehammer and dynamite.
I’m fairly new to this particular beat, but as a longtime observer of another franchise treading water (via my old haunt, Tomahawk Take), I learned to recognize that sometimes, the best move is the hardest. In 2014, it was hard to watch the Braves gut the roster of talented veterans that did not fit well together and had a definite ceiling (that did not include a World Series) to replenish a farm system that had napalmed into nothingness.
Do you recognize anything in that last sentence that sounds like the current plight of the KC Royals?
The team that won the 2015 World Series has checked out.
Greg Holland. Gone.
Wade Davis. Gone.
Gone. History. Sayonara. Andato. Borte.
Just enough of the old faces are still around that it feels like nothing has changed, but that’s not the case. Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar—huge assets to the 2015 cause—are up for free-agency after this season. So is Jason Vargas, aka Tom Glavine 2.0. Alex Gordon hasn’t been healthy in two seasons and wasn’t particularly effective last year when he was in the lineup.
And nothing is coming to really help this situation out. Looking through preseason prospect rankings, the Royals standout as having no standouts. Looking through the rankings of Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and others, only Hunter Dozier (No. 53 at Call to the Pen) and Josh Staumont (No. 95 by John Sickels at minorleagueball.com) cracked a top-100 list. Some bad drafts, bad luck, and quick ascension have conspired to knock the KC Royals far down the prospect rankings.
So… you got any ideas about what to do to fix the KC Royals, genius?
This week, we’ll be having a look at some of the moves that could be made, some pros and cons to extensions for the five big-ticket Royals set to hit the market in the offseason and what they could potentially fetch in trade. We may even discuss trading Gordon (blasphemy!), Kelvin Herrera (rumored to be on Washington’s radar) and other vets under contract—and you probably won’t like how that looks.
I eagerly await your hate mail. Just know I don’t want this—I’d much rather watch Cain, Moose, et al. patrol Kauffman Stadium in perpetuity. But giving large contracts to an aging core with few promising fresh legs on the horizon is a recipe for five straight years of 65-80 wins. And I don’t think any of us want that.