Kansas City Royals: How to ‘Moneyball’ this winter to remain competitive

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KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 05: Dayton Moore, left, general manager of the Kansas City Royals talks with owner and Chief Executive Officer David Glass during batting practice at Kauffman Stadium on September 5, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 05: Dayton Moore, left, general manager of the Kansas City Royals talks with owner and Chief Executive Officer David Glass during batting practice at Kauffman Stadium on September 5, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images) /
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CLEVELAND, OH – OCTOBER 06: Austin Jackson
CLEVELAND, OH – OCTOBER 06: Austin Jackson /

The Savvy Vet

Let’s start with center field. The Kansas City Royals aren’t bringing back Cain. I’ve accepted it, and you should probably get used to it, too. One guy who I think the Royals need to take a good, hard look at is center fielder Austin Jackson. He’s a free agent this offseason after spending 2017 in Cleveland. Some numbers for you:

  • Here’s Jackson’s career slash line: .275/.336/.403/.739
  • Here’s Jackson last season (85 games): .318/.387/.482/.869

I would expect Jackson to perform closer to his career line in 2018. I don’t know what got into him in 2017. But I wouldn’t hold my breath that he’s capable of duplicating those numbers.

Luckily for KC, they wouldn’t need Jackson to duplicate those numbers. The just need him to be somewhere in between. Let’s say that Jackson slashed something like .280/.345/.410/.755 next season, and the Royals could get him on a two-year contract worth $18 million. I would be in love with that deal. Kansas City gets a cheap, veteran center fielder who can fill in nicely until one of Donnie Dewees or Michael Gigliotti is ready to take over full-time.

The problem with this, of course, is banking on a 31-year old to produce at a that level. I think Jackson is capable of getting on base at a .345 clip. But it isn’t something I would take to the bank either.

In order to complete the trifecta, the Kansas City Royals need to aim big for their final roster opening: first base. If you have ever read anything that I’ve written for Kings of Kauffman, you may have a good idea of where I’m going with this.

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