The KC Royals return to Kauffman Stadium this weekend to close out a disappointing 2023 season. The team ended the season on a high note, posting their first winning month since April 2021 and the first winning month in the season's second half since 2018.
KC Royals fans, these truths are not easy to acknowledge.
There are several developments that Royals fans should watch for this offseason. Kansas City's front office seems to be all-in on moving forward with a new stadium plan this winter, but that is not what fans are worried most about.
This team could be active on the trade market after October passes and move on from players like catcher Salvador Perez or pitcher Brady Singer. The Royals need to earn fans' trust back with notable additions this offseason and invest more into one of the league's smallest 2024 payrolls. Fans hope that comes via starting rotation help or perhaps a massive extension for shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. We shall have to see.
That is all speculation. Any fan, writer, or talking head can speculate after the season concludes. These are some tough truths that Royals fans need to acknowledge and consider heading into 2024.
Salvy's on-field contributions are average at best.
Let's rip the Band-Aid off here. Perez is a Royals legend and the last remaining link to the 2015 World Championship team. But Perez is declining in several areas of the game, and 2023 saw him reach new lows.
Perez enters the season's final homestand with -.3 wins above replacement. That is a miniscule margin, but is still a far cry from his 3.2 WAR in 2021 and even his ..5 WAR in 2022. If he finishes the season in the negative, this will be the first such time in Perez's career. There is a first for everything, but this is not a favorable one for the smiling Salvy.
I get it. Salvy is a fan favorite, with his infectious positivity and free-swinging pop. But, that is just good will. That should not prevent Royals fans from seeing that this is not the Salvy of previous years, but rather one on the decline, with an enormous contract, and serious health concerns.
Perez has been an atrocious hitter since his historic May performance. Since June 1, Perez has a .632 OPS and 65 wRC+. Remember, 100 wRC+ represents an average MLB hitter. The walks are down, the strikeouts are up in that span as well. Nothing, whether the eye test or stats, shows Salvy is a positive contributor to this Royals squad.