Midway through another KC Royals offseason week, player and personnel developments continue to be front and center.
Some KC Royals Midweek thoughts while becoming increasingly optimistic that John Sherman is the principal owner we all hoped he would be:
Free agent update.
Speaking of John Sherman, it’s good to see the Royals’ power-that-be authorizing the signing of good free agents. Greg Holland is the latest player to come off the market and into the Kansas City fold (or back in it in Holland’s case), and followed the excellent signings of first baseman Carlos Santana, outfielder Michael A. Taylor and starter Mike Minor who, like Holland in 2020, is making his return to Kansas City after a several-year absence.
Look for another move or two before Sherman and General Manager Dayton Moore turn their immediate thoughts to arbitration and spring training. They appear to be on a mission to improve the Royals in every reasonable way.
Checking up on notable non-tendered KC Royals.
It was just a couple of weeks ago that Kansas City didn’t offer 2021 contracts to Maikel Franco, Bubba Starling, Foster Griffin, Carlos Sanabria, Jeison Guzman and Erick Mejia. Not at all surprisingly, the club re-signed Starling, Griffin and Sanabria a few days ago.
There is no recent word, however, on Franco, Guzman or Mejia, all of whom are now free agents. But the Royals have a tendency to bring non-tenders back, so Guzman and Mejia donning Royal Blue again wouldn’t be a shock, although Franco is a long shot because Carlos Santana’s signing probably means Hunter Dozier will return to third base.
An AL Central team that pounded the KC Royals in 2020 is getting better.
The Chicago White Sox, for many years a thorn in Kansas City’s side, completely dominated the Royals last season. The ChiSox won nine of 10 games the teams played to beat KC more times than any other club. But they finished one game behind American League Central champion Minnesota.
Now, Chicago is once again positioning itself to improve. Although the move met with seriously mixed reviews, owner Jerry Reinsdorf brought back former Sox skipper Tony La Russa to manage the club next season, wooed back free agent outfielder Adam Eaton, who played for Chicago from 2014-2016, then traded last week for premier Texas starter Lance Lynn.
Eaton and Lynn immediately strengthen an already formidable lineup, and something tells me La Russa will silence critics who say he’s too old (76) to relate to young players—after all, he’s one of the best managers and tactical minds the game has ever seen. Time, of course, will tell.
A front office fixture moves on.
Various members of Kansas City’s front office have apparently sought positions with other clubs since the season ended, but no notable moves were reported until recently.
Senior Director of Pro Scouting and Assistant General Manager Gene Watson is headed west to join the Angels. Watson, who’s been with the Royals for over a decade, will serve as a special advisor to new Los Angeles general manager Perry Minasian.
Watson previously interviewed, along with Royals’ Vice President and Assistant General Manager J. J. Picollo and fellow Vice President and Assistant General Manager Scott Sharp, for the general manager position for which the Angels ultimately picked Minasian.
Picollo’s name was mentioned in connection with Philadelphia’s vacant general manager’s job, but that club’s recent hiring of veteran baseball executive Dave Dombrowski as its President of Baseball Operations casts doubt on whether the Phillies will even need a GM.
In case you missed it.
Has the holiday season given you less time to keep up with the Royals? If so, you can check out some of our Kings of Kauffman writers’ recent work.
Shawn Bauman had more of his excellent minor league updates here and here, while David Scharff analyzed whether Bubba Starling and Kyle Zimmer are draft letdowns here and wrote about former KC star John Mayberry here, and I explained why the Royals didn’t miss by not signing David Dahl here.
That’s all for now. We’ll be back next week with more KC Royals Midweek News, Views, Rumors and Takes. Until then, stay safe and healthy.