The Winter Meetings, baseball's annual festival of trades, free agent signings and rumors, officially began this evening in Nashville, and the KC Royals, led by general manager J.J. Picollo, will be there.
The Kansas City contingent will arrive with plenty of hard, important work to do. They Royals are, after all, coming off a thoroughly embarrassing last-place season and, although they looked better in the second half, there is so far little reason to believe Kansas City will field a significantly improved roster when the 2024 campaign opens at Kauffman Stadium in late March.
Just how much Picollo will, or can. accomplish this week remains to be seen. His is a team not blessed with the kind of deep, roster-wide talent with which he can tempt other clubs on the trade market, nothing strongly suggests principal owner John Sherman will give Picollo enough money to lure big-name, top-tier free agents to Kansas City, and a currently-packed 40-man roster means the Royals won't have a pick in Wednesday's Rule 5 Draft unless they open a spot, which doesn't seem very likely.
So, how might these meetings go for the club? What are some of the unanswered KC questions as they open tonight?
Do the Royals have a blockbuster deal up their sleeves?
Hopefully, but don't count on it. Too many of the best free agents, most notably Shohei Ohtani, Blake Snell, and Cody Bellinger, aren't in Kansas City's conversation and never will be, and the Royals simply don't have the big guns required to consummate a major trade unless they put Bobby Witt Jr. on the block, which won't happen.