12 days of KC Royals: Wishing for progress in 2020

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images /

The KC Royals are entering a pivotal 2020 season. All fans should be hoping for continued progress after a rough 2019 campaign.

Welcome back to the Kings of Kauffman “12 Days of KC Royals” series. Every day leading up to Christmas on Dec. 25, the team here has taken turns listing something they wanted to happen in regards to the hometown team. If you’re reading this, the chances are that you’re looking for some uplifting reading material during your holiday. We’ll get there.

It’s been a rough past couple of years for fans of the Kansas City Royals. After the team won 81 games in 2016 and 80 the year after, the organization’s same core that brought a championship back to KC for the first time in 30 years ended up disbanding for the most part. Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer left town, with Mike Moustakas being traded the following campaign. As a whole, the supporting talent aged and the once-dominant bullpen quickly fell apart.

2018 and 2019 were equally bad. 104-loss and 103-loss seasons are never easy to swallow, but the most recent one offers a bit of hope for the future. Hunter Dozier finally broke out. Jorge Soler did the same — and, more importantly, was able to stay healthy for the entire season. Brad Keller took a step back, yet still looked like a solid starter for the future. Ian Kennedy thrived in his new role as the team’s closer.

This offseason has been all about building for the future. The farm system that was once a top-ranking one among all MLB teams is now climbing back up the list with additions like Bobby Witt Jr., Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, Daniel Lynch, Kris Bubic and Khalil Lee. David Glass is no longer the team’s owner, as the John Sherman era is set to begin immediately.

With Ned Yost‘s retirement, Mike Matheny is tasked with leading the Royals back to competitiveness over the next few years. The team will be bad in 2020. Let’s not mistake that. With that said, this coming season is all about the future. Who will be in it? Who won’t be? Is one more year of tanking going to be worth it? Could some unexpected breakouts happen and propel a team with a measly payroll and not much talent to the neighborhood of 70 wins? Who knows.

What we do know, though, is that the fans don’t have many more 100-plus loss seasons in them. Those days are over. Changes needed to be made, now it’s time to see whether or not they were the right ones. Dayton Moore was able to construct a contender that lasted two seasons (2014 and 2015). Can he use that as a blueprint to work with Sherman to build a perennial playoff team moving forward?

Next. Top prospect rewind, outfielder Khalil Lee. dark

I sure hope so. As you gather with your families today and chat baseball, be positive. There’s a lot of uncertainty going around. That’s more than normal. But at the end of the day, we’re all in this together. Let’s make the most of it and wish for progress in 2020.