Fans expecting big things from the KC Royals this season probably won't get them. The club's first offseason with J.J. Picollo in charge feels much like most of the winters Dayton Moore was at the helm: minor deals, not seismic moves, have been the norm, and what Picollo has done so far won't make the Royals contenders.
But whether its followers like it or not, proceeding slowly and cautiously is for now this franchise's chosen path, and the approach makes some sense. The Royals are packed with young, full-of-potential players the KC powers that be seem willing to let play and learn even if doing so means another losing campaign. And that's OK, especially considering the club has a new manager and coaches and the young, raw talent isn't quite ready to win anyway.
What, however, of Royal veterans who could, absent good 2023 seasons, find themselves displaced by components of that youthful talent? Several could fall into that category; three may be especially vulnerable.
KC Royals infielder Adalberto Mondesi might end up on the outside looking in.
Adalberto Mondesi is the Royal most susceptible to the consequences of a poor, or in his case, injury-riddled, season. His is a story so well-chronicled that it needn't be fully rehashed here; suffice it to say he shows flashes of his remarkable talent and potential, but only when sandwiched between the stints on the Injured List his many injuries, including the torn ACL that robbed him of all but 15 games last season, trigger.
Add to the mix his eligibility for free agency after this season and the recipe for a make-or-break season is complete. If they're not trying to move him already, something we've advocated for before, the Royals probably won't hesitate to do so if Mondesi starts poorly or serious injury befalls him again.