Here are the areas the front office needs to address
As previously noted, the first move that new owner John Sherman will have to make is to hire a new manager. It’s so important for Sherman to get this hire right because a stop-gap hire doesn’t do anyone any good. The new manager should be someone who has ideally played the game, is big on analytics, and has a hands-on teaching approach. These qualities will be critical to the development of the younger players as they make their way to the big leagues while also continuing to develop players who are already here.
If I said pitching needs to be addressed, that would be a massive understatement. If the Royals had anything that resembled a competent pitching staff, they would have likely finished with a record better than what was originally projected. But alas, the team’s staff finished with the 10th worst ERA and the 5th worst FIP in baseball. Danny Duffy put together a strong month of September but could be a potential option for the bullpen next season.
Speaking of the bullpen, the Royals group finished with the 4th worst ERA and the 14th worst FIP in baseball, which likely means they should have pitched better than they did. Once a manager is in place, Sherman will need to be proactive in the free-agent market, acquiring as many as four new arms. Two for the rotation and two for the bullpen to avoid another disastrous season.
With Alex Gordon‘s option likely to be declined, the Royals will need to address the holes in the outfield. Left-field looks to be wide open and certainly, Bubba Starling and Brett Phillips could play center and left field, respectively. However, neither one of them exactly shined at the plate. I’m not ready to give up on either one of them but that doesn’t mean to just hope for the best.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens in right field as well as that was a revolving door this year, with Whit Merrifield, Soler, Dozier, Starling, Phillips, Ryan McBroom all seeing time at the position. Similar to the centerfield situation, the Royals may need to potentially address the first base situation this offseason. Ryan O’Hearn did not look that great this season and there’s just simply too small of a sample size to make a determination on McBroom.
Both played well in the final month of the season, but it’s extremely risky to roll with both of them next year. I understand that O’Hearn is still 26 years old and it might take time, but I fear that doing nothing could result in lackluster play from both O’Hearn and McBroom over the course of a full season.