KC Royals: The many mysteries of a baseball January

(Photo by Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)
(Photo by Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

The beginning of every new year confronts the KC Royals with a multitude of questions, and this January is no different.

It is now January, usually the final month of baseball’s winter before February ushers in spring training and the buddings of a new season. Baseball this January, however, is far different than it was a year ago—COVID-19 hadn’t yet exploded in America or the game in 2020’s first week but now renders uncertain just when the KC Royals and other clubs will open spring camp and then the season, and just how long the season will be.

It seems, however, that the upcoming campaign will be longer than last; the question is more “when” it starts than “if.” So January’s period of transition, when thoughts slowly start turning from free agency and trades to the season itself, begins anew. For the Royals, this January carries more promise than those of the recent past, and the month’s questions aren’t the same as they were this time last year.

Take, for example, last winter’s signings of relievers Trevor Rosenthal and Greg Holland, moves best described at the time as the latest in the seemingly never-ending line of General Manager Dayton Moore’s reclamation projects. The pair of cheap, low-risk acquisitions generated little more than skepticism bordering on bewilderment, but turned into excellent moves.

This month, however, rings with the welcome news Holland will be back, and Rosenthal’s return, the chances of which aren’t good, would be greeted with just as much, if not more, glee. Success, as always, changes everything.

What other January questions did 2020 answer, and which do 2021 bring? Let’s take a look.

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