Center field options outlined
One of the biggest holes the Kansas City Royals will need to fill for 2018 comes in center field. Lorenzo Cain almost certainly won’t return. That leaves a group of rather uninspiring internal options. According to Dodd, Moore believes the Opening Day starter is already on the 40-man roster with the most likely candidates being Paulo Orlando, Alex Gordon and Billy Burns:
Dayton Moore said he sees Paulo Orlando, Alex Gordon and Billy Burns as options in center. Maybe a late FA if the price is right. Bubba Starling will start season in Omaha, but … “we wouldn’t hesitate if he gets off to a really good start,” Moore said.
— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) December 12, 2017
As Dodd points out, Bubba Starling doesn’t appear to be in the current competition. However, he could insert himself into it with a good start to 2018. As for the outside options, the free agent market includes several cheap alternatives to Cain. But none of those players seem to make sense for an organization set to rebuild. One of the prime candidates would be former Royal Jarrod Dyson. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan, though, says Moore essentially shot down that possibility:
Dayton Moore on whether Jarrod Dyson could be a free-agent pickup and solution in center field: “Not at this point.”
— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) December 12, 2017
Other viable free agent options would include Cameron Maybin, who the club reportedly expressed interest in a while back, and Carlos Gomez. Signing either of those players would run counter, though, to the idea that the Kansas City Royals would be tearing things down. At this point, Orlando seems the most likely to at least get the first opportunity in center, allowing Gordon to stay in left. Starling represents a pipe dream center fielder, but the true heir to Cain probably lies in the lower reaches of the farm system.