Additions: Coco Crisp, Mike Jacobs, Juan Cruz, Kyle Farnsworth, Willie Bloomquist, Miguel Olivo (re-signed), Jamey Wright, Horacio Ramirez, Bruce Chen, Tug Hulett, Doug Waechter, Franquelis Osoria, J.R. House
Subtractions: Mark Grudzielanek, Joey Gathright, Esteban German, Ramon Ramirez, Brett Tomko (midseason), Leo Nunez
For all of Dayton Moore’s tinkering, are the Royals any better this year? His best move was signing Zack Greinke to an extension, but several of the other transactions were questionable. You can say the market dropped out after the Farnsworth signing, but no one liked that commitment at the time. Jacobs is OBP-challenged and terrible with the glove, and it’s a shame that Kila Ka’aihue won’t get a shot. On the plus side, the acquisitions of Cruz and Crisp were solid.
Another GM might have passed on Farnsworth, Ramirez, Olivo, and Jacobs and non-tendered Mark Teahen. That would’ve left about $15MM to spend on some combination of a middle infielder, an on-base/power bat, or a starting pitcher. Those remain the team’s needs, if they are to sneak into contention this year.
The improvements will mainly have to come internally, which is possible. Guillen could play like he did in ’07, and Gordon and Butler could continue to grow. DeJesus and Aviles could mostly hold the line and the team should get more than last year’s .277/.324/.396 line at first base. The outfield defense should be better, with DeJesus moving to left and Crisp ranging over to help Guillen.
The retooled bullpen should be fine, and maybe Brian Bannister, Luke Hochevar, and Kyle Davies can provide league average innings behind Greinke and Gil Meche. Admittedly, that’s a lot of maybes and ifs.
Bottom line: Moore didn’t do much to augment the Royals’ OBP or rotation, so improvements will have to come from young holdovers.