I’ll admit that I’m getting frustrated. I’m not so upset that the Royals haven’t made any moves because I don’t think you necessarily have to make moves just to make them. But I do think there were moves out there to be made. Brad Ziegler reportedly would have taken less from the Royals than he did from the Marlins, but apparently not enough less to fit a now tight budget. I just don’t understand that mindset at all. I understand the idea of not spending frivolously just to spend, but if you have a need and feel you’re a World Series contender (which I assume the Royals feel), it’s a necessary evil to make a move here and there, even if it adds a few dollars to the bottom line. Maybe there’s something coming.
- That’s where we’ll start because that’s what I keep telling myself. The Royals have done next to nothing, but it’s also December 23rd. Last year, the Royals spent $142 million after the new year began on Alex Gordon and Ian Kennedy. And this is absolutely a market in which it seems that waiting is the best bet. I mean look at what’s still out there. No, the starting pitching is basically tapped out, but it was never much to begin with and the guys who were thought to be potential bargains when the winter started are pretty much still out there. And the same is true with the relief market. If the Royals went out and re-signed Luke Hochevar and/or Peter Moylan along with another move on that front and one of the big bats not getting the attention they feel they deserve (someone like Chris Carter who I’d be good with for something like $3 million), then I’d actually feel pretty good about this team and this offseason. So yeah, I’m a little frustrated right now, but there’s still plenty of time to turn it around. I’m going to keep repeating that to myself for the next six weeks or so.
- One thing I know is that the Indians got better yesterday when they signed Edwin Encarnacion. Essentially, they’ve traded an overrated season from Mike Napoli for one of the better hitters in baseball, so that’s certainly a blow to the Royals chances to compete for a division title this season. Of course, the season is a long way away and then it’s a long season once it gets here, so there are no guarantees, but that addition doesn’t help the Royals. It’s at least worth noting that Encarnacion will be 34 in a couple weeks and guys don’t typically get better as they age. I’m not saying I expect him to struggle, but he might be merely very good instead of great. Still, that’s not good for KC. He’s also crushed the Royals in his career, if you were wondering. With that in mind, I believe the Royals badly need to do something to attempt to keep pace. While Napoli was overrated last season, he still walked 78 times and hit 34 homers. That’s an element the Royals offense doesn’t have much of. Clint Scoles mentioned it on Twitter last night, but I do agree that he’d be an interesting fit to the bottom of the middle of the Royals lineup. Add in that his clubhouse credentials are off the charts and I could see a match if the Royals can find the money in the couch cushions.
- I know we’ve talked about Jarrod Dyson’s value so much recently, but it’s because he’s been talked about everywhere as a potential upgrade for quite a few teams. I’m a little curious where this is all going because the word around baseball after the Wade Davis for Jorge Soler deal was that his trade was coming up and was somewhat related to that one. That led me to believe that maybe he’d be dealt for a reliever. Of course, that hasn’t happened yet, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. There are some rumors that the Orioles would be willing to give up Brad Brach for a center fielder, but I just can’t imagine they’d give him up for one year of Dyson. Though that said, Dyson would transform that team. He stole 30 bases last year, which is 11 more than the entire Orioles team stole. Plus, he’d add to their plus defensive identity in both center and a corner spot because it would allow Adam Jones to move there where he’d be better. So maybe just maybe that would make sense. If the Royals could add Brach to this bullpen (at an estimated $2.9 million in exchange for Dyson’s estimated $2.5 million), I’d say the Royals should make that deal yesterday. With that in mind, it’s also probably why they haven’t made that deal. I’m guessing it hasn’t been and won’t be offered.
- One pitcher who I’ve been factoring in to my bullpen analysis is Matt Strahm, but maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to assume he’ll be in the bullpen as the fifth starter spot is wide open for the Royals as of this moment. I think I’ve probably talked about this before, but I do feel like the best move is for Strahm to start the season in the bullpen. I believe this for a couple reasons. First, I love the idea of developing pitchers in the big leagues out of the bullpen first like Earl Weaver used to advocate. I think Strahm can learn so much from pitching in those spurts. Second, and maybe more important given the championship aspirations, I think the Royals are better with Strahm in the bullpen. As it stands right now, the top four in the rotation have a chance to actually be pretty good. The fifth starter is important, but not vital to the team’s success if the top four starters are actually good. I don’t think there’s any harm in starting Strahm in the bullpen and reassessing as the season goes on. No, it’s not easy to build pitch count in-season, but we saw last year with Danny Duffy that it’s possible and can be done very successfully. I imagine Strahm will be on an innings limit of somewhere between 150 and 160 anyway given that he threw just 124.1 last year, so to keep him in the bullpen to start the year and maybe end it (plus playoffs hopefully), that might allow the Royals to keep his innings down in a way that helps the team the most.
- More important than any move the Royals make or don’t make, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and I want to take this opportunity to thank you for reading all the work on BP Kansas City from our great writers and from me too.