What Happens Next for the Kansas City Royals?

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 6: Eric Hosmer
KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 6: Eric Hosmer /

The Kansas City Royals were just the most recent team to fall victim to Corey Kluber. The team has all but been eliminated from playoff contention. After the season, what will happen to our Boys in Blue?

(Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to remove Melky Cabrera from the list of Kansas City Royals eligible to receive a qualifying offer.)

Earlier this week, I wrote about comparing the season of the Kansas City Royals to a patient on life support. I took the liberty of signing the team’s “Do Not Resuscitate” paperwork. But the season has now officially flatlined.

I mention in the article that it is my opinion that Jorge Soler, Jorge Bonifacio, Raul Mondesi, Cam Gallagher and Cheslor Cuthbert ought to get a significant amount of playing time for the rest of the season.

Unfortunately, I don’t think Ned Yost will bench any of the upcoming free agents. He is going to give them every at-bat they can get before the season ends. This is actually a pretty classy move by Yost to reward a group of players that brought KC a world championship.

We can expect many of the same players to be in the Kansas City Royals lineup for the rest of 2017. But the question can be asked, “So what happens next?”

A few dates to know:

  • Oct. 1: Royals final game—at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks at 2:15 p.m. CT
  • Morning after the World Series ends: Players can begin filing for free agency
  • Five days after the World Series ends: Deadline for teams to extend qualifying offers to free agents
  • Six days after the World Series ends: Free agents can begin to sign new contracts
  • Twelve days after the World Series ends: Deadline for players to accept qualifying offers
  • Dec. 10-14: Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida

I’d recommend buying a ticket to that game on Oct. 1. It will more than likely be the last time you will see several of your favorite players in a Kansas City Royals uniform. And definitely the last time you will see the Royals play in 2017.

Let’s take a look at what some of these dates mean for the Royals this offseason.

After the World Series ends, the Royals will have five days to decide to which of their free agents they want to extend qualifying offers. A qualifying offer for 2018 will cost a team $18 million for one season.

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Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer are all locks to receive a QO. Jason Vargas could be a candidate, as well, but he’s a toss-up. Alcides Escobar is the other name that people will bring up in free agency. But there is no way the Royals would extend him a QO, because there’s no way Escobar would turn down $18 million.

For players like Cain, Moose and Hosmer, the Royals will extend them a QO, because they will get a first-round draft pick in return if one of those three players signs elsewhere.

The Royals know those players are going to turn down their QO. But as long as they all sign contracts for at least $50 million guaranteed (they will), the Royals get a first-round compensation pick in return.

For Vargas and Cabrera, the Royals may see value in bringing those players back for one year at $18 million. I’m not actually sure if I think either of them would accept a QO. However, the Royals would still get some sort of draft compensation if Vargas or Cabrera signed elsewhere this way.

Six days after the World Series ends, players can begin to sign free agent contracts. There’s no way to know when players will sign, but you can imagine that players like Hosmer will take their time to evaluate their offers. Hosmer is sure to have plenty of suitors and will probably pace the first baseman market.

Winter Meetings

At the Winter Meetings, teams will discuss trade options and get ready for the Rule 5 draft. The Kansas City Royals will have to add any prospects they don’t want to lose in the Rule 5 draft to the 40-man roster before the meetings begin on Dec. 10. Guys such as Ryan O’Hearn, Richard Lovelady and Eric Stout seem to be locks to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason.

I expect the Kansas City Royals to make some moves this offseason. Anytime you see a rebuild, you can expect trades and free agent signings. The Royals have players and prospects that are surely liked by other teams and may use them to add young players with control. The Nate Karns trade last offseason is a great example of the type of move I’d expect Dayton Moore to make more of this winter.

Regardless of how this season ends, this offseason is going to be really interesting in KC.

The Kansas City Royals have some decisions they must make this winter that will surely decide the course of the team’s future. Which of the free agents will they re-sign? Will any of the free agents accept qualifying offers? Will any big names get moved in trades? And will there be any changes in the coaching staff?

Next: Looking Ahead to the Royals 2018 Schedule

The answers to these questions are still yet to be known. But one thing is for sure, this offseason should not lack in excitement for the Kansas City Royals.