Dayton Moore has been busy this offseason for the Royals, taking advantage of the slow market. He has been able to spend significantly less money on talent that would typically require more than one-year contracts because of the market. But what exactly could the one-year contract mean?
If we as fans can take away one thing about Dayton Moore, it is that he hates losing. He hates fielding a bad team and refuses to go back to 2006. He is going to do everything he can to field a competitive team, which we as fans should be thankful for.
Going into the offseason, a rebuild seemed all but inevitable. Therefore, we have been preparing ourselves for bad baseball in Kansas City. However, some feel that the rebuild might be on hold because of the recent moves made by the competitive General Manager.
The contracts of Lucas Duda, Jon Jay, and Mike Moustakas came with question marks. Those deals seem to do one thing, which prolongs the inevitable. With those contracts only being one year, it is not a long prolonging, but it still pushes the timetable back.
But what if those contracts have a deeper meaning to them? Yes, the Royals lineup with these three additions is significantly better than what they had to start Spring Training. No one will argue that Hunter Dozier, Bubba Starling, and Cheslor Cuthbert make the Royals better than the new additions. But what if I was to say that I think these three, or another prospect fill in, will be the starter come August?
The Royals possible rationale
Part of me is happy that Moore decided to field a somewhat competitive team. The idea of watching bad baseball is not an enticing thing. But part of me also wants to just rip the band-aid off and rebuild. Perhaps these one-year contracts are helping with the rebuild though.
No, I am not talking about saving years of service time. I am not talking getting the younger guys more at-bats either. All of those are plausible reasons. However, I am talking about something different. I am talking trade bait.
Come July, it seems hard to believe that the Royals will be winning the Central with Minnesota and Cleveland running the show. It also seems hard to believe that they will be competing for a Wild Card position. Therefore, why not trade those contracts that are expiring?
If the Royals three new additions are capable of recreating their 2017 season, the return could drastically change the way the Royals operate during the rebuild.
The way the Mets were able to flip Duda last year is exactly what the Royals need to do this year. They traded for a 24-year-old minor league bullpen arm who has a career 1.80 ERA over 90 appearances and 139.2 innings. That is encouraging for the Royals as a possible return.
Jay might not be the most attractive addition to a competitive team, but he does have upside. His career .996 fielding percent in the outfield could prove to be a number that will entice a team to trade for him. And if he is able to hit remotely close to his .296 he hit last year, that will just sweeten the deal.
Lastly, Moustakas has an interesting contract and is a potential trade candidate. I know, I said trade Moustakas. Here me out though.
His extremely inexpensive contract, for what his potential can be, makes him an attractive piece come July if he continues where he left off. What makes him better is the option year that comes with him. If a team feels like they cannot compete to get one of the priced third basemen to hit the market in 2018, Moustakas’ $15 million option might be enough to bring in a nice return if traded.
Imagine what the Royals could trade Duda, Jay, and Moustakas for that would help aid in the rebuild. These contracts could help the Royals more than we originally thought, and we are not talking about wins this year.
With four picks over the top 40 picks in the draft this year, the Royals could make serious improvements to the team and speed the rebuilding process up. If they can hit on players, instead of the long drought that seems like a likely scenario, it could be just a few years of rebuilding.
I will say this, if Duda, Jay, and Moustakas are still on the Royals roster in August it needs to be because they are competing for the Wild Card. If they are out of the mix, and those three had a solid first half, and they are still on the team in August, then the Royals missed on a major opportunity to rebuild the farm system and speed to rebuilding process up.
So what do you think Royals fans? Do you think that these recent contracts are simply for trade bait? Do you think there is a deeper meaning to the contracts? Or do you simply believe these contracts are just to keep the Royals competitive? Let us know your thoughts below!