Is this the most boring offseason ever, or what?
You don’t need to answer that question. Because, yes, it is in fact, the most boring offseason ever. At least from a Royals fan perspective. It kind of reminds me of so many Dayton Moore trade deadlines. Maybe this isn’t just a Royals thing. The whole hot stove seems kind of underwhelming this winter. Blame it on the uncertainty surrounding the now resolved CBA combined with an underwhelming class of free agents and this is what you get. Blah. Unless you’re a big fan of closers and relatively anonymous left-handed relief pitchers.
Depending on your perspective (and it always helps to have perspective), the biggest news on the weekend was the Padres signing Jhoulys Chacin. Besides giving the autocorrect feature on my browser fits, this is an underwhelming name that is really just kind of a footnote signing. He’s going to make $1.75 million next year on a one year deal, which in any market is a bargain, and is said to have rejected “significantly more” money for the opportunity pitching in San Diego presented.
I mention Chacin, not because it’s an interesting or even wholly relevant signing. I mention him because this is the type of player the Royals have turned to in the past to fill out the back of their rotation. If this is a sign they are leaning toward unleashing Matt Strahm to go along with the other four (Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, Yordano Ventura and Jason Vargas), I can get on board with that. But it seems like the Royals need to basically add to their surplus of arms. The last couple of years they’ve collected pitchers with an eye on more or less a swingman role, but they’re not even doing that at this point.
Jim Bowden (I know, I know) came up with off season report cards for all 30 teams last week on ESPN.com. (Subscription required.)
I must have missed the Royals signing a 40 year old backup catcher who hasn’t had a plate appearance in the majors since 2011. Other than that, I guess I can agree with that letter grade. When you’re grading moves, a C is what you give inertia. Unless you have to make a trade for one reason or another, but the Royals aren’t in that boat. Yet.
I’ve found myself coming back to one of Dayton Moore’s more famous quotes:
If you make enough good decisions, three-year plans turn into two-year plans and five-year plans turn into three-year plans. If you make bad decisions, 10-year plans turn into no plan.
This isn’t meant to be a criticism on Moore, whose plan paid the ultimate dividend. It’s just that it’s been easy to speculate on the next plan. What are the Royals doing today to prepare for tomorrow. And what exactly is tomorrow supposed to bring? Is it a teardown to the foundation, along with a rebuild? Or is it about replacing key pieces here or there and trying to remain competitive in what has become a relatively confusing AL Central?
Is there a plan?
The Royals haven’t made a bad decision this offseason, but the sample size is small. The Wade Davis trade was probably the right thing to do, but the return still feels a little light. Re-signing Drew Butera is fine, but – no offense to his magnificent hair – it barely moves the offseason needle.
Look. This could all be much ado about nothing. The White Sox are in the midst of a fire sale. The Twins have a new front office and look to be recalibrating after years without a plan. The Indians and the Tigers have, like the Royals, been quiet. I guess that means that at this time last December, if you felt the Royals would be in the mix for the AL Central title, you could probably do the same again. The divisional heavyweights haven’t done a thing to separate themselves from the pack and the also-rans are still getting things together.
And maybe that’s the genius of the Royals plan.