As spring camp nears, the KC Royals hunt for more offense and a key player awaits talks.
Some KC Royals midweek musings while thinking how nice it will be not having to wonder who should be playing first base:
Will this search ever end?
As of late Tuesday night, the Royals’ quest to find a new lefthanded bat presumably continues, but with no apparent end in sight. For reasons so far unexplained, the club hasn’t been able to sign any free agent options, or hasn’t seriously pursued them.
Obtaining a left fielder is Kansas City’s logical goal. Switch hitter Jurickson Profar, mentioned frequently as a realistic possibility, elected to stay with the Padres last week, leaving even former Royal Jon Jay among the rapidly decreasing field of potential candidates.
Nothing says the club has to sign someone before spring training, but it would be both convenient and nice. Perhaps Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr. could be lured to KC and switch to left field. Maybe, as we’ve mentioned before, Bradley teammate Alex Benintendi could be had in a trade, but recent chatter about his availability has grown quiet. Or, General Manager Dayton Moore could chase Marcell Ozuna or Yasiel Puig; they’re both righthanders, but hit lefties well.
In the final analysis, this is a search that can’t go on forever. But it feels like it has.
Salvador Perez wants to stay with the KC Royals
Realistically, there is no room to argue that Salvador Perez isn’t the face of the Kansas City franchise. He’s the most visible, charismatic, popular member of the club, a player fans have counted on and revered through the thick and thin of the team’s post-2015 decline.
The approaching season, however, poses the ominous possibility that it could be his last in a KC uniform—2021 is the final year of the five-year deal he signed during spring training in 2016. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to imagine the Royals without Perez on their roster.
Perez recently made it clear he wants to stay and, although there haven’t yet been extension discussions, he’s willing to talk anytime. Timely conversations need to take place because a contract extension will benefit both player and club.
Why the Royals and their Gold Glove, All-Star, Silver Slugger, franchise Player of the Year star haven’t discussed an extension is, of course, unknown outside Kauffman Stadium. Perhaps Dayton Moore and principal owner John Sherman are simply waiting until they’ve made all the offseason moves they’re going to make so they know how much money is available for a long-term Perez deal. They may prefer to negotiate with Perez after the season. The financial uncertainty surrounding the game may be a factor.
KC fans shouldn’t panic, though. There’s no reason to believe management has any desire to see a club icon leave. He means so much.
Is the opening of spring training really resolved?
Monday night’s news that the Major League Players Association rejected Major League Baseball’s proposal to delay the start of spring training and the regular season really doesn’t settle the matter.
The parties still have to reach an accord covering safety and health protocols. Although the Cactus League may have no legal recourse, it recently asked MLB to delay spring training; whether or not the League has any power, there’s still the issue of potential local government opposition, and those local jurisdictions can legally block spring training activities.
Dustin Pedroia wore out the KC Royals
After a long battle with an uncooperative knee, Boston’s Dustin Pedroia retired Monday. Pedroia feasted on Kansas City pitching throughout his excellent 14-year big league career—in 61 games, he slashed .353/.432/.566 with nine home runs and 37 RBIs. Pedroia’s .998 OPS against the Royals was his best against any American League club.
In case you missed it
Here are some selections from the past several days at Kings of Kauffman.
I suggested that the universal DH could benefit the Royals, outlined how his offseason moves will figure in Moore’s evaluation, and wrote about pitching coach Cal Eldred and his Kansas City prospect son C.J.
That’s all for now. We’ll be back next Wednesday with another KC Royals midweek news roundup. Until then, stay safe and healthy.