3 mistakes the KC Royals must avoid this offseason

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KC Royals
(Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports) /

Much to the surprise and delight of many, the KC Royals were uncharacteristically active last winter. They signed several “name” free agents, including Carlos Santana, Mike Minor, Ervin Santana, and Wade Davis, and traded for Andrew Benintendi. The results were mixed.

Now, the fact the Royals have a new personnel point man—longtime Assistant General Manager J.J. Picollo took over as GM last month—complicates predicting what they’ll do this offseason, although things probably won’t be drastically different with Dayton Moore still involved.

But whatever approach Picollo takes, the club needs help. An accomplished starter, an everyday right fielder, and a more offensively productive backup catcher wouldn’t hurt.

There are some mistakes, however, Picollo must avoid.

The KC Royals need to let Wade Davis and Greg Holland go this winter.

Strong ties, especially those linking long-past-prime players to certain teams, are hard to break. But gently severing the ties between relievers Wade Davis and Greg Holland is something J.J. Picollo must do.

In an important sense, saying goodbye to two pitchers who played such instrumental roles with Kansas City’s 2014 and 2016 successes is easy—both become free agents when the World Series ends, meaning Picollo can let them walk without saying a word to either.

But that’s not who the Royals are, and Picollo has been part of the franchise culture for 15 years. He simply needs to sit down with both, thank them for their two tours of duty with the club, and let them know they’re no longer part of the master plan.

It’s the right move. Davis is far from the lockdown reliever he once was: he returned to KC this year after two poor seasons with Colorado, went 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA, allowed a .270 BAA, and finished the campaign on the Injured List.

Holland was better, but still lost five games in relief, blew four of 12 save opportunities, and posted a 4.85 ERA, a number too big for clutch relievers.

Letting Davis and Holland go won’t be easy, but keeping them will be a mistake. The Royals have more effective bullpen pieces.