This writer isn’t in charge of the KC Royals, although there are times I’d like to have been (the 1985, 2014 and 2015 seasons come immediately to mind), and times to come when I’d love to be calling the shots at Kauffman Stadium.
If the decisions were up to me, I’d squelch talk of moving downtown and stay at The K. I’d ban the phrase “The Process” from the front office and The Wave from the stands, retire Whitey Herzog’s number, bring back Kevin Seitzer as hitting coach, find a way to responsibly unload Hunter Dozier’s ill-advised contract, make sure Bobby Witt Jr. is in next season’s Opening Day lineup, and demand proof that Cal Eldred is the right pitching coach to develop and lead the club’s corps of talented young hurlers.
And I’d make some New Year’s Resolutions for the club. Here are a few.
KC Royals New Year’s Resolution No. 1: Break open the franchise checkbook.
I know, I know, Kansas City is a small market, which naturally restricts revenue and consequently the amount of money the club can spend improving its on-field product. And, although Salvador Perez’s record-breaking contract is promising, the Royals don’t have the best track record when they do loosen the purse strings (think Danny Duffy and Alex Gordon, both of whom reaped more from their mega-deals than did the franchise).
But try again the Royals must do. Two critical roster spots must be filled—the shaky starting rotation cries out for a veteran winner, ideally a James Shields type who can mentor, lead and win 15 games, and a right fielder with a powerful bat and powerful arm.
Unless MJ Melendez can step in and claim right field, securing two such players will require big trades, big free agent signings, or a combination of both. It’s an expensive proposition, but something Kansas City needs to do, and the sooner the better.