Questions have arisen about the Kansas City Royals direction on their rebuild. Even though you may not like it, this is truly what a form of rebuilding looks like.
We have all talked about this in previous months. We always believed that Dayton Moore had multiple options. He did not go into this offseason without multiple plans for the Kansas City Royals. That would be foolish for a general manager to do, and we all know that Moore is not a foolish man.
The problem is agreeing on what type of rebuild they should do is hard. Everyone has an idea as to what the best option is. The Royals seemed to come into the offseason with three options to pick from. Unfortunately, the option the Royals are rolling with is most likely not Option 1 or Option 2.
If you were to look at Moore’s pad of paper with each option on it. These were most likely his choices.
- Option 1: rebuild around Eric Hosmer.
- Option 2: play the young guys. Potentially playing Hunter Dozier, Adalberto Mondesi, Bubba Starling, and company.
- Option 3: sign veteran player to cheap contracts in hopes to trade them in July while preserving service time of the younger players.
Why Option 3 won
When news broke with the rumored contract the San Diego Padres were going to give Hosmer, we all knew he was not coming back to Kansas City. Therefore, Option 1 was sunk. However, Option 2 seemed to have a short life.
Option 2 seemed to waiver when Alcides Escobar signed in late January. By making this move, it seemed to block Mondesi. However, the Royals might have known something about Mondesi’s health. Or they also might have something deeper they are not bringing to light.
As time went on it was obvious after Spring Training had started that the Royals were moving onto Option 3. The give away was when they signed Lucas Duda at the end of February. Then when the Royals were informed that Jorge Bonifacio was going to be suspended for PED use, they quickly signed Jon Jay.
All of these moves signaled the elimination of Option 1 and Option 2. But the Royals were kind of forced to make that choice.
Why Option 3 is the better choice
We can go back and forth about why one of the first two options is the better choice, but let’s analyze why Option 3 is actually the better choice.
For one, this option really did not cost the Royals much of anything. So far they have signed 12 new additions this year. and of those 12 only 10 players are making impacting the Royals payroll. When you will find what the Royals are spending on them you find that it is just $21,575,000. That is just over $2.1 million per player. Seven of these players are on the 25-man roster, which adds up to just $18.25 million.
Even better, all of those contracts are one-year deals. So the Royals are spending very little money while filling the team’s holes with a veteran player.
What makes Option 3 interesting is the chance of what July can bring. I am fully aware that not every one of those players will be traded. Blaine Boyer might not be on the team much longer, Escobar seems like he will be in Kansas City forever, and some just have no value to them. But some do.
The Royals are hoping that some of these players have strong first halves so they can trade them. In fact, some might have been signed with the agreement that they would be traded to a contender in July.
Last year the New York Mets flipped Duda for Drew Smith. The fair question here is, “who is Drew Smith and why should I care?”. Smith is a 24-year-old bullpen arm who has a career 1.80 ERA over 90 appearances and 139.2 innings from Single-A to Triple-A. He also has 157 strikeouts compared to just 46 walks. Needless to say, Smith is a pretty solid arm.
The Royals may not be able to get a player identical to Smith. However, making that type trade in July drastically improves and speeds up a rebuilding process.
The St. Louis Cardinals traded Jay to San Diego back in 2015 for Jedd Gyorko. I know, “2015 was three years ago.” “Jay was 30-years-old then and is 33-years-old now.” However, when Jay was traded in 2015 he hit .210/.306/.257 over 79 games. Since then he has hit .291/.339/.389 over 90 games and .296/.374/.375 over 141 games. If he can have a strong first half, and a team is in need of a capable outfielder that gets on base often, Jay could be that guy.
Justin Grimm could be an enticing bullpen arm. The Royals are looking for a place to put guys in the bullpen. If Grimm can find himself a home in the bullpen as being a solid setup pitcher his value drastically increases. He is only 29-years-old, pitching on a $1.25 million contract. Therefore, if he has a strong first half he will be an intriguing trade candidate because of his age and contract.
When a team is in the hunt, they are looking for guys who can help close out the game. If Grimm can be that guy, sometimes teams are willing to give up a decent prospect for them. Grimm could be one of those guys.
This one will probably bring the most backlash. The Royals really need for Mike Moustakas to have a solid first half. He is probably the gem in this whole option. When Moustakas signed his 1-year/$5.5 million deal with a 2019 mutual option worth $15 million, I knew he was trade bait.
Depending on how the option is worded in his contract, Moustakas could be traded to a contending team and it could be viewed as a two-year deal. If a team wanted Moustakas bad enough, while not wanting to overpay for a third baseman on the market in 2019, Moustakas is the perfect option.
I believe Moustakas re-signed with the impression that the Royals would trade him to a contender. He prefers the West Coast to be closer to home, but that might not happen. However, the Dodgers do have an opening at third base due to Justin Turner being injured. Something to keep an eye one. As well as San Diego to reunite with Hosmer.
What all of this can do
With the Royals having four draft picks in the top 40 selections, a solid trade window can escalate the situation much faster. If Dayton Moore plays his cards right, by the end of the year the Royals will have executed both Option 2 and Option 3. They will have traded veteran players they signed to cheap one-year deals for prospects who can elevate the rebuilding process.
And if they are not able to trade away anyone in July, that means that the team is truly doing awful, meaning they have a horrible record. That just means that they are not on the hook long-term with any of these players, and they will have a high draft pick in 2019.
Seems like a win/win to me!
When you really look at it, Option 3 is truly the better option. It gives the Royals a chance to trade for prospects that can help with the rebuilding process long-term. It gives the Royals a chance to save the younger players service time. And it allows the Royals a chance to initiate Option 2 in July, meaning Moore gets two of his three options.
It may not seem like the best choice right now. You might not agree with the process in which they are rebuilding. To that, I say hope for a solid first have from certain individuals and wait till the fun starts in July. From that point on, we will get a better understanding of what all Option 2 an Option 3 can provide to the future of the Kansas City Royals.
So what do you think Royals fans? Do you approve of the Royals option? What would you change? Anything missing? Let us know below!