Offseason Outlook: Kansas City Royals

The Royals are up next in our Offseason Outlook series.  Their 2010 commitments:

C – John Buck – $2.9MM+
C – Brayan Pena – $405K
1B – Billy Butler – $421K
2B – Alberto Callaspo – $416K
SS – Yuniesky Betancourt – $2MM
3B – Alex Gordon – $457K+
IF/OF – Mark Teahen – $3.575MM+
IF/OF – Willie Bloomquist – $1.7MM
LF – David DeJesus – $4.7MM
CF – Mitch Maier – $401K
RF – Jose Guillen – $12MM
OF – Josh Anderson- $400K
DH – Mike Jacobs – $3.25MM+

SP – Zack Greinke – $7.25MM
SP – Gil Meche – $12MM
SP – Brian Bannister – $1.7375MM+
SP – Luke Hochevar – $1.325MM
SP – Kyle Davies – $1.3MM+

RP – Joakim Soria – $3MM
RP – Juan Cruz – $3.25MM
RP – Kyle Farnsworth – $4.5MM
RP – John Bale – $1.2MM+
RP – Doug Waechter – $640K+
RP – Robinson Tejeda – $437K+
RP – Roman Colon – $435K+

Options: Coco Crisp – $8MM club option with $500K buyout, Yasuhiko Yabuta – $4MM club option with $500K buyout, Miguel Olivo – $3.3MM mutual option with $100K buyout

Non-tender/trade candidates: Buck, Bale, Waechter, Colon, Jacobs, Teahen

Cot's Baseball Contracts says the Royals entered 2009 with a $70.5MM payroll.  If the Royals non-tender or trade the six players I've listed as candidates, they'll have about $58MM committed before arbitration raises to Gordon, Bannister, Davies, and Tejeda.  So let's put them in the low-$60MM range.

Crisp's $8MM option is a tough call; it seems slightly steep but the market for center fielders is weak.  If exercised, the Royals won't have much to spend on their other needs unless payroll is raised.  But should they be spending more money?  I advocate using Pena plus a cheap free agent at catcher, promoting Kila Ka'aihue as a 1B/DH, and signing a reasonably priced reclamation project pitcher like Erik Bedard, Justin Duchscherer, or Randy Johnson.  The bullpen might be lousy again, but it's pricey enough as is.

My version of the 2010 Royals is probably not a contender unless everyone stays healthy and they get breakout seasons from Gordon and Hochevar and bounceback years from Guillen, Meche, Cruz, and others.  Halfway through the season, if that's not happening, Dayton Moore should hold a fire sale and get what he can for Crisp, Guillen, Meche, Cruz, and Farnsworth.  The current mix of cheap effective young players and overpaid, underperforming veterans is not a formula for success.

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