Here we are less than a week from Thanksgiving and Dayton Moore and the Royals haven’t really done anything. In a way, I miss the days of the Royals jumping into the market almost immediately after the World Series. But then I remember that moves like that give the Royals pitchers like Jonathan Sanchez and I get less upset about the team letting the market develop. Still, it’d be nice to have some news, even if it is just an extension being announced for a certain left-handed starter who happens to own a bear suit. I won’t name names, though.
- With Kendrys Morales heading north of the border, the Royals now have to figure out how exactly to manage the designated hitter role. The team is publicly saying that they’d be fine with a rotating DH that would be presumably led by Cheslor Cuthbert. On the surface, that makes a lot of sense. Cuthbert is a young player who performed well for most of 2016 before he hit a wall and he’s out of options. The Royals may not want to trade Cuthbert (though I still think they would) because the position he plays is manned by a player who is better than him but is in the final year of team control. Plus, this is not a young team. Alex Gordon is now well into his 30s. Lorenzo Cain needs time off. That third baseman, Mike Moustakas, is coming off a very serious knee injury, so he’ll need time off. It makes sense to have a built in half-day off for all these players. Of course, the lineup is also thin. Even if you predict bounce back seasons for everyone, they still could use one more bat in the middle of the lineup. In theory, the idea of a rotating DH makes a whole lot of sense, but in practice, I really believe the better bet would be to sign someone like Matt Holliday who you can put at first base at times and who you can probably play in the outfield occasionally in smaller parks at times. Give Holliday 100-120 starts at DH and allow others to rest accordingly. This doesn’t help Moustakas since Holliday can’t play third, but it would at least provide some flexibility while giving the team another bat in the middle of the order they so desperately need.
- Now that Charlie Morton is off the free agent list after signing a two-year deal with the Astros, I can honestly say that I’m not sure there’s a single starter on the free agent market who I really want the Royals to go after. There are guys who I wouldn’t mind on the right deal, like Jhoulys Chacin or Derek Holland, but for the most part, the only good ones aren’t nearly as good as the contract they’re going to ultimately sign. That’s not the worst thing in the world for the Royals because they do have three starters locked in for sure and another one in Jason Vargas who I think they’re confident can hold down the fourth spot, but man, would it be nice to find another arm. Some may argue that Rich Hill or Ivan Nova would make sense. And you’re right. They would. But I’ve seen crazy money thrown around for both of them, and while Hill appears to have figured out how to have success when he’s on the mound, him being on the mound is the issue. As for Nova, sure, I’d be all about that, but his time in Pittsburgh has likely made his asking price go up to the point that he just isn’t worth it. I still think the Royals ultimately look to make a trade, whether it’s for a prospect like a Jose De Leon (it’d have to be a Wade Davis deal) or a veteran like Dan Straily, Patrick Corbin or Hector Santiago. The trade market appears to be where it’ll be at for the Royals this offseason if they get anything done.
- The Cy Young voting brought some interesting takes on the world wide interwebs on Wednesday night that are even continuing into today, so I figured I’d touch on that. Max Scherzer won in the National League, which I think was a great choice. You really could have made a case for any of the three top vote getters, so that’s kind of whatever. In the American League, Rick Porcello took home the honors, which is what started the issues. I think it was wrong, but not the travesty some believe. Porcello went 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA, 3.45 DRA and was worth 4.9 WARP. He threw 223 innings, which is a lot. Justin Verlander went 16-9 with a 3.04 ERA, 2.75 DRA and was worth 6.8 WARP in 227.2 innings. Corey Kluber went 18-9 with a 3.14 ERA, 2.97 DRA and was worth 5.9 WARP in 215 innings. So yes, Porcello probably should have finished third. He also struck out the least hitters by far of any of the three. So yeah, I disagree with the voting. But I guess my issue here is that Porcello had a fantastic season. The innings pitched were huge. He limited walks. He was really, really good. I don’t know. It just kind of bothers me when award season becomes a time to marginalize excellent seasons that were had because certain metrics show them to not be quite as good as other players. So that’s my lukewarm take. The decision was bad, but Porcello was really good, so whatever.
- With the deadline for the qualifying offers to be accepted or declined past, it brought up the question of whether this would be the last time we see the QO in the form it has been for the last four seasons. We’ve seen players decline the QO only to see their free agency sabotaged and we’ve seen players begin to accept the offer as they’ve seen counterparts burned by it as well as the money rise. So the question that should be on every Royals fan’s mind is what will the new system look like under the new CBA? We’ll know soon, but we have to hope that there will continue to be compensation for free agents in a similar manner to what we’ve seen in the past. As it stands now, the Royals have five players who are set to hit free agency following the 2017 season (Lorenzo Cain, Wade Davis, Danny Duffy, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas) who seem like good bets to receive a qualifying offer. That’s five potential extra draft picks for the Royals in the 2018 draft that they can use to help rebuild their team. Now, I think Duffy gets an extension signed sooner than later, so he wouldn’t be in there, but the Royals have likely been banking on getting picks for their big free agent class. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports mentioned that it seems like the system was moving toward teams losing free agents keeping their compensation, but teams signing them not losing their first round picks for it. If that’s the case, that’s great news for the Royals, but this is something important to keep an eye on.