The KC Royals and many other teams have plenty of work to do this offseason. The MLB playoffs are marching on without the Royals once again this year. Kansas City is tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second-longest active postseason drought at eight seasons. Fellow AL teams Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels have a nine-season postseason drought, but just because other teams have it worse doesn't assuage Royals fans.
The MLB playoffs go on with the KC Royals at home. But free agency offers hope.
While other fanbases tuned in for the Wild Card series, the Royals held their end-of-season press conference. General manager J.J. Picollo and manager Matt Quatraro spoke to area media members for more than 40 minutes. The conference set the offseason table following a 106-loss 2023 season and Picollo set new expectations for the franchise.
“I think the level of patience that we’ve shown (and) the opportunities that we’ve given guys is adequate," Picollo said. "We need to start thinking more about what we need to do to enhance this roster — and not be as cognizant of who’s on the roster right now.”
Picollo focused on the "starting pitching, outfield, bullpen" as areas of improvement this offseason. He gave centerfielder Kyle Isbel a vote of confidence, but some external options could push for a roster spot next season at all three positions.
One of the best ways Kansas City can "enhance this roster" is via free agency. The Royals are historically stingy on the free-agent market, and nothing points to that changing. But, there is not enough internal talent to expect the 2024 team to be any better. If Kansas City wants to improve in the win-loss column, ownership needs to open the pocketbooks for some external talent.
The MLB playoffs feature teams with their cores locked up contractually, but there are some supporting cast members entering free agency. With the playoff field dwindling down, let's look at each 2023 playoff team and one pending free agent from each team the Royals should pursue this offseason.