Baseball players come and go, rarely spending their entire careers with one team. Some who leave clubs never play against their former teams; some see those teams frequently. Five former KC Royals could hurt KC this season.
The rebuild of the KC Royals is a work in progress. It is a difficult multi-year project orchestrated by General Manager Dayton Moore with no certain end date, the pain of it punctuated by two straight 100-plus loss seasons with a third certainly not impossible. Moore and the club speak of competing, but not of immediate championship contention; the Royals draw closer to the former while the latter is, at best, a dim light at the end of a long tunnel.
To get where they want to be–October baseball–the Royals must add talent, a commodity rarely gained without sacrifice. Whether this necessary gain-loss takes the form of trades, free agent signings, or draft picks, the cost is always the same–adding players means giving others in trade, paying cash, or releasing one to make room for a newcomer.
The risks of such moves are many–acquired players may fail, players traded or released may blossom into stars with their new teams.
And some deemed dispensable may come back to haunt their former clubs. Such is the case with at least five former KC Royals, traded away or released but who may well face their old club in intra-division contests, the most meaningful games for any major league club. For the Royals, it is those games–the tilts that make up the majority of their schedule–that pose the risk of the haunt.
Four of these ex-Royals are expected to play roles with Minnesota and Chicago, the two AL Central teams who’ve done the most to muscle up this offseason while one, seeking to revive a once-promising career, heads for Detroit.