I had the opportunity yesterday to hit for my seats at Kauffman Stadium. And while I used to be a pretty good hitter, that was a long time ago. Long story short, I do not get my season tickets for free. But hey, I did get to hit a few balls at Kauffman Stadium, so that’s a cool experience at least, right? And yes, that’s the most exciting part of the offseason so far. Craig detailed the moves made already to help get the Royals 40-man roster down to 40 once the 60-day DL guys are reinstated, and now we wait. Qualifying offers are issued today, which is something the Royals are not at all concerned with this year and the general managers will meet starting on Tuesday, so at least we might see some rumors pop up from there. Man, I love rumor season.
- I think I may have talked about this before, but it’s probably worth going over again. There are a few guys the Royals have who will be out of options in 2019 that might things a little complicated. Cheslor Cuthbert is the most obvious because he’s been out of them for two years and stuck on a roster where he really doesn’t fit, but there are others joining him now. Paulo Orlando cannot be sent down again, which makes him a prime DFA candidate (along with his poor play obviously). Rosell Herrera is also out of options, so he might struggle to last the year, especially once Nicky Lopez is brought up. Two others who are interesting are Ramon Torres and Bubba Starling. Given the makeup of the likely 2019 roster, I actually think Torres makes more sense than Herrera, but the Royals love the infield/outfield versatility Herrera brings. Starling, to me, should be the first guy DFAed. I don’t care where he was drafted, where he was born or who he rooted for growing up. That time has passed for him. On the mound, it’s less cumbersome as Brian Flynn and Jorge Lopez are the only pitchers of note out of options. Flynn, to me, is a solid but easily replaced reliever (of course last year’s bullpen might say otherwise on the easily replaced part), but Lopez’s options mean he has a big league role somewhere in 2019. My guess is he opens as the fifth starter but ends the year in the year in the bullpen. If you’re looking ahead to 2020, Samir Duenez will be out of options and with Ryan O’Hearn’s emergence, he might be a candidate to be removed at some point in 2019.
- The Wily Peralta deal makes a lot of sense to me even if you don’t believe he can repeat what he did last year (and I don’t). They were bringing him back no matter what because he was one of the few relievers last season who didn’t turn everything he touched into garbage. So instead of paying him $3 million in 2019, they cut that salary by $750,000 and for his troubles added an extra quarter million to what he would have taken home by giving him a $1 million option buyout. The great thing about that contract is that it doesn’t stop them from doing anything else and if he’s good, they can move him, but if he’s bad, they can move on from him very easily. With all those walks, my guess is that bad is the bet here, but it’s nice to have a guy who at least had some success. Plus, Dayton Moore hadn’t given out a contract with a mutual option in a minute, so he had a chance to scratch that itch. Everybody wins.
- I’ve spent a lot of time talking about bargain-type relievers who the Royals could look to in order to shore up their bullpen. And while I think that’s the direction they’ll go, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a few starters who could fill the role of the final starter in the rotation. What that would do is push all the candidates for that spot to the bullpen to help that unit out. I’ve talked a lot about my thoughts on Jorge Lopez and how I think he’s ultimately a reliever, but Heath Fillmyer fits well there as well with how good his slider was in the big leagues. No, the Royals aren’t going to be in on Patrick Corbin or anything (though they did talk about him in a trade a couple years ago), but a look at the bottom of the barrel of free agent starters could lead them to a veteran on a small enough deal that you figure why not. Some options are James Shields, Miguel Gonzalez (if he’s healthy), Josh Tomlin (woof), Hector Santiago, Jaime Garcia and maybe even a Drew Pomeranz if he ends up cheap enough. One other name to keep an eye on is Erasmo Ramirez. I don’t have any inside information here, but he seems like a Royals target and the reports indicate the Mariners are moving on from him and will be DFAing him shortly. I wouldn’t like that move much, but it does seem like a Dayton special.
- This isn’t Royals-centric, but I keep thinking about Manny Machado’s free agency and I can’t wrap my head around why any team would give him $300 million or more. He’s a fantastic player. At third base, his defense is in the top three in baseball and he can really hit. Maybe he can handle shortstop for a few more years too as he did look better there once he went to the Dodgers. But I feel like there’s too much of an emphasis being placed on his age when he hasn’t really shown that he’s a “best player in baseball” sort of guy for very long. I’ll say it again so that I don’t hammered for saying I don’t think Machado is good. I think he’s truly great. But he’s a real piece of work and even though he’s entering just his age-26 season, I’m just not sure I’d commit that kind of money to him. He’s a year removed from hitting .259/.310/.471. Maybe I’m underselling his age here and it probably won’t matter because he’s going to get 10 years and $326 million or something (so he gets the biggest contract ever), and it’ll have an opt out after three years that he’ll take, so the team will “only” give him $90 million or whatever, but I’m just struggling with the idea that he’s a guy you’d want your team to give that kind of money to. I’m going to repeat this one more time for the people in the back. He’s a truly fantastic player, but he has too many red flags for me to want to give him that money.