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2007 Kansas City Royals

It wouldn't be kind to ignore the Royals in my 2007 Team Outlooks.

Dayton Moore's contract obligations:

C - Jason LaRue - $2.5MM
C - John Buck - $0.38MM
1B - Ryan Shealy - $0.38MM
2B - Mark Grudzielanek - $4MM
SS - Angel Berroa - $3.25MM
3B - Mark Teahen - $0.38MM
IF - Esteban German - $0.38MM
LF - Emil Brown - $1.775MM
CF - David DeJesus - $2MM
RF - Reggie Sanders - $5MM
OF - Joey Gathright - $0.38MM
DH - Mike Sweeney - $11MM

SP - Odalis Perez - $1.7MM
SP - Luke Hudson - $0.38MM
SP - Jorge de la Rosa - $0.38MM
SP - Runelvys Hernandez - $1.225MM
SP - Zack Greinke - $0.38MM

RP - Jimmy Gobble - $0.38MM
RP - Ambiorix Burgos - $0.38MM
RP - Todd Wellemeyer - $0.38MM
RP - Andy Sisco - $0.38MM
RP - Joel Peralta - $0.38MM
RP - Joe Nelson - $0.38MM
RP - Ryan Braun - $0.38MM
RP - Ken Ray - $0.38MM
RP - Brandon Duckworth - $0.38MM

Injured players:
SP - Scott Elarton - $4MM (recovering from August shoulder surgery, targeting June 1 return)

Departed players:
RP - Elmer Dessens - $1.7MM

I know I've listed 26 active players here, but I'm not sure which reliever isn't a part of the 2007 Royals.  The team is going to take payroll to the $50-55MM range, a franchise record.  They've got about $38.5MM tied up, but Brown, Hernandez, Gobble, Duckworth, and Wellemeyer are all eligible for arbitration.  I'll ballpark it at $15MM left to spend this winter.

This outlook reflects the current state of the roster, as if the season started tomorrow.  Here's what could happen between now and Opening Day to change the picture:

- Moore finds a decent offer for Emil Brown at the winter meetings, freeing up left field for Mark Teahen.
- Alex Gordon is starting at third by May and is the team's best hitter.
- Injuries to Sweeney, Sanders, or both opens up playing time for German, Shane Costa, or even Billy Butler.
- At the very least, the Royals acquire one Tier 2 starter, perhaps pushing Hernandez to the pen.
- A veteran reliever is acquired, and a couple of the guys I've listed go to Omaha.

I just had to get that out of the way before jumping into a closer analysis.

The Royals aren't paying much for LaRue, so hopefully they spin him into something decent before the trading deadline and turn back to Buck.  Why wouldn't a team like this just stick with Buck?

The right side of the infield is pretty well set, and not too shabby.  Berroa is just awful at short, but it would take a sly trade by Moore to find a replacement.  Teahen is said to be the team's third baseman at present, even with super prospect Alex Gordon nearly ready to launch.  One of the two will shift to an outfield corner this spring once Moore figures out how to unload one of Brown/Sanders.  Brown is obviously more marketable.

German probably fills the Chone Figgins role.  The outfield is pretty much in a complete state of flux, as any success by Gathright would push DeJesus to left permanently.  Teahen could play right with Butler as the DH of the future.  That'll be fun, but Gathright could flop plus the Royals are still stuck with Sanders, Sweeney, and Brown at the moment.

The first three spots in the rotation appear penciled in as Perez-Hudson-de la Rosa.  De la Rosa is nobody's idea of a #3, but hey, why not give him a good ten starts and a little security to work with. Everyone would love Greinke to succeed and to start, but we'll just have to wait and see.  Elarton won't return until June at the earliest.  Hernandez made more starts in '06 than any current Royal, but he posted a 6.48 ERA.  He probably gets the boot once Moore brings in a free agent.

Those targets include Gil Meche, Miguel Batista, and former Royals Jeff Suppan and Mark Redman.  My money is on Batista unless Brown can bring in a comparable guy.

The bullpen will obviously not consist of all nine guys listed.  Nelson, Ray, Wellemeyer, Gobble, and Peralta are probably in.  One veteran Joe Borowski type will be imported as well.  The Denver Post reports that Octavio Dotel has received offers from three teams to close games; the Royals are one team in a position to make that offer.

With Moore in charge, Royals fans are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Shealy, Teahen, DeJesus, Gordon, and Butler make for a strong, affordable offensive core.  Moore will continue hoarding young pitchers; hopefully top pick Luke Hochevar's shoulder strain last month in the AFL was nothing serious.  For 2007, it would be ideal if vets like Brown, Sanders, LaRue, and Sweeney stay healthy and relatively productive to allow Moore to get some starting pitching back.    

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Comments

I predict the Royals win the World Series...............................before i die......and im 24

Not likely Kwazimoto

Wow! I would hate to be a Royals fan. Good luck with that roster.

Eh, i'll take my chances with Gordon, Butler, Teahen, Dejesus, and Shealy in the field. That's one of the better young groups of position players in the league, if not the best.

If they can get some young pitchers to develop, they could be a pretty good team in by 08 or so.

Looks like NewJerseyDave is another typical East Coast fan!

Notice I said TYPICAL, so if you do recognize midwest teams as actual teams, then I am not pointing at you.

any chance that Dejesus is traded? They have Gathright to slide right in and all into CF.

Perhaps for an arm from florida?

Dejesus would be the least likely to be moved. I'd say all they are looking to move is Brown or Sanders until the AAA/AA OF shakes out.

SBE,

I agree.

I like the Royals young core.

I have no idea why anyone would suggest trading Dejesus.

He was great last year for the price and the nice thing is, altho he will never hit 40 HRs, that also means u have a nice player that wont be offered $20 mil per in a few years.

I liek the Royals core of position players.

I love Teahen too.

I don't like Hochevar. Watched him pitch in the AFL and think he's vastly overrated.

I like Greinke and think he will improve.

I think Runelvys can be turned into a solid #5.

Odalis and Greinke as a top 2 is potentially nice for a low market team.

Don't forget about Huber, he is in their plans as well. Too bad they had to move him off of catcher as his offense would be near tops in the league at that position, I imagine that his defense there was pretty bad.

I think they should move one of Teahen, Butler, Huber or Shealy because of the log jam at 1B/3B/DH/LF with Gordon obviously in that mix as well. I'd keep whoever has the best defense. It could be a bad move just throwing Teahen into LF, I don't know how good his glove is at 3B, but he could cost the team a lot of runs w/ his OF defense.

All and all Moore has done a great job since he took over, this roster disgusted me at the beginning of last year and now it's starting to look pretty nice. Nice to see Royals fans get a decent product as that team had a nice tradition at one time.

Grant, if the Royals agree with you, than I would gladly offer Ryan Garko and Jake Westbrook for Shealy and Grienke if I was Mark Shapiro.

Grienke is one of those guys to me, I think we all have one, that we just KNOW is gonna realize his potential and tear through batters. I'd let him compete for the closers job.

I dunno, being a Royals fan isn't the worst thing you could be right now. I'd rather watch the Royals for a season than, say, the Orioles or the Giants. They have a VERY exciting group of young guys that baseball fans should keep their eyes on. Kind of like Tampa Bay, but obviously they need some years of development and plenty more pitching before they'll make a peep.

Poor Tampa Bay and Kansas City. If you're a young whippersnapping team with promise, are there two divisions you'd rather not be in?

I'm not a "Huber guy".

Was quite happy to see the Mets deal him for something more than a box of instant noodles.

I like watching the Royals becuz I like watching Ambiorix Burgos throw.

That guy throws serious heat.

Hopefully he harnesses it.

That's quite a hope. What is it with KC pitchers and mental shakiness? He had serious confidence problems last year. I was at an Indians game where they had just given him his closing job and he came in with a one run lead and gave up HRs to Sizemore and Hafner.

They WERE Sizemore and Hafner, but still. Shook him up.

Yknow, I just thought of something reading the blog Roto pointed out on the nonsensical signing of LaRue.

What if he's supposed to be a Crash Davis-like mentor? It's way too much money for it, but I would find that idea so cinematic and awesome. I'm going to go ahead and pretend that's the reason.

There's no better reason, anyway.

PS: Please tell me you've seen Bull Durham.

If I'm Kc I draft Pitching Pitching Pitching.

nick i like grienke alot too, I think he needs to be rescued out of KC though.

He's a first time closer facing a division rival and 2 of the best hitters in the league.

That would shake anyone up, even Roger Clemens.

The only difference is Clemens would get roid rage and throw a bat at someone.

Brad Lidge has been fuckd up since Pujols ass raped him.

Are all the Astros mentally weak now?

Zack Greinke....


Now THERE'S a REAL headcase.

"The only difference is Clemens would get roid rage and throw a bat at someone."

HAHAHA funny shit.
Yp Bsox, he explained himself ok?
He thought it was the ball.

Greinke absolutely is a headcase. Which I find encouraging. Because what if a change of scenery is all he needs? A new organization to tell him they're committed to him and whatnot. And I understand the KC coaching staff toyed around with his mechanics and where he stood on the rubber so much that a lot of his failures are a result of experimenting instead of sticking with what made him put up sick numbers in the minors.

"Change of scenery" moves are underrated in baseball. It can work out really well for the new team, because they probably got him for cheap anyway. For the most recent example, look at Brandon Phillips. He just could not, would not, perform in Cleveland and clashed way too much with the FO and coaches. We practically give him away to Cinci, and while he's not on the fast track to Cooperstown, he's still made himself look pretty good.

I like Greinke too.

I've been trying to acquire him ni my keeper league for a year now.

Evidentally his owner is willing to deal him, but at fair value, which isn't worth my time.

I need some premium to off set his weird development.

I think the KC FO is probably willing to let him go for cheap, just because they may be starting to suspect he won't do it as Royal and they might as well get something for it and not destroy his career.

Oh, also: He's 23.

I doubt he's cheap.

The Royals don't have the firepower to get less than premium value for Greinke.

If they can't get a premium prospect for him, they're better off taking a chance with him.

Guy Hansen screwed with his mechanics in 2005, which put his game out of wack. He's back to what he was doing now.

BTW, Greinke NOT cheap. The guy just turned 23. He could still be a stud. The Royals are MUCH better off at letting him play out with the Royals. Why would he need a change of scenery? He played great in 2004. The only thing he needed to get away from was GUY HANSEN. And now he is.

firesticks,

I'm with u man.

I like Greinke. Would love to see him pan out.

firesticks, I don't know if it's too late to see this post, but I'm actually originally from Chicago and moved to New Jersey about a year and a half ago. While I understand there exists an "east coast bias" that is not the case with me. The midwest does get less coverage out here, but not nearly as bad as the west coast.

At the end of the day I'm a big baseball fan and while I'd love to see a small market team do well, I have to call it as I see it. And when I look at the Royals roster you posted, I think 65 wins (especially in the toughest division in baseball - the AL Central).

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