Offseason In Review: Kansas City Royals

Next up in our Offseason In Review series, the Royals.

Major League Signings

  • Noel Arguelles, SP:  five years, $6.9MM.
  • Jason Kendall, C: two years, $6MM.
  • Rick Ankiel, OF: one year, $3.25MM.  Includes $6MM mutual option for '11 with a $500K buyout.
  • Scott Podsednik, OF: one year, $1.75MM.  Includes $2MM club option for '11 with a $100K buyout; player may void option with 525 PAs.
  • Brian Anderson, OF: one year, $700K.
  • Total spend: $18.6MM ($11.7MM not including Arguelles).

Notable Minor League Signings

Trades and Claims

Notable Losses

The signing of Cuban lefty Arguelles was the signature move of the Royals' offseason.  GM Dayton Moore added a prospect who would've been no worse than a top ten draft pick in 2009, according to ESPN's Keith Law, and he did so by simply making the highest bid.  Law ranks the Royals' farm system as ninth in baseball and rising.  

I also liked the $5.7MM spend on outfielders Ankiel, Podsednik, and Anderson.  There's a little bit of upside and not much risk.  Same goes for Moore's many minor league signings.  I was also a fan of the Teahen trade, where Moore swapped a non-tender candidate for two useful pieces.

The Kendall deal is a blemish on a solid offseason, as the Royals could've gotten a similar veteran backstop for less.  It's easy to say Brayan Pena deserved a better look, though maybe the Royals' scouts think Kendall will have the biggest effect on the pitching staff.  The other question mark, which we haven't heard much about, is the loss of prospect Juan Abreu to the Braves.  The righty throws a mid-90s sinker and a decent curveball, and Baseball America says the Royals "reached a deal to re-sign him as a minor league free agent after the season, but a contract snafu allowed him to hit the open market."

Despite Kendall and Abreu, Moore did a nice job overall this winter by focusing on the long-term health of the organization rather than veteran respectability for 2010.


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45 Comments on "Offseason In Review: Kansas City Royals"


BradyAndersonsSideburns
5 years 5 months ago

Moore did a nice job?

That’s it, I’m not reading any of these offseason reviews anymore

Rootdown
5 years 5 months ago

I don’t believe you. I think that you will be refreshing every day waiting for the next one.

BradyAndersonsSideburns
5 years 5 months ago

yeah probably haha

bbxxj
5 years 5 months ago

I too am cautiously optimistic about the returns on the Royals offseason. By DHing Guillen full or close to full time and installing Podsednik/Ankiel/DeJesus in the OF the overall defense in the OF will be pretty good in support of the pitching staff though CF won’t be a strength. The top of the order will be good with some speed (Podsednik, DeJesus) and some thump (Butler) but the lineup as a whole looks pretty punchless. Greinke is of course a young stud and Gordon may actually keep it together and stay healthy this year, but with all that said DM needs to do a few more things to even have a shot at passing one of the Twins, White Sox or Tigers:

1. Aquire a plus or plus-plus fielding SS and install Getz at 2B: Bethancourt is just plain awful and should not be starting in the majors. It would be extremely difficult and costly to aquire a good all around defensive/offensive shortstop but getting one or the other would cost less and would still be a sizeable upgrade over Yuni. The type or mold of shortstop I am talking about is someone along the lines of Paul Janish or Ried Brignac who may not hit well in a full time role but would still bring value with their gloves in support of their young staff. Playing Getz at second would further strengthen the up the middle defense and would allow Callaspo to be used as a trade chip to aquire the SS gloveman.

2. Don’t be afraid to cut/trade/reduce PT of Guillen or Kendall: If they aren’t productive or a guy on the farm is really pressing for playing time (looking at Kaaihue over Gullen at DH/1B or Pena over Redmond at C). I understand the need to keep your veterans happy but the fans deserve the best product you can put on the field.

3. Press hard for a plus defending CFer in the trade market: In this scenario you would move Ankiel into a LF/RF/DH rotation with DeJesus and Pods with Guillen moving to the bench or being cut. This would be further facilitated by a good year from Gordon as he could replace Guillen’s ‘role’ in the middle of the lineup.

The Royals have a really decent farm that is developing quicky and a good base of minor league pitching depth with a few veterans (DeJesus, Callaspo, Bannister, etc) to trade from should an opportunity arise to aquire a good pre-arbi SS or CFer. They will amost certainly not be a big factor this year but there still is hope in KC.

Soxball
5 years 5 months ago

I like this site, but really Tim? Maybe you should stick to just reposting other reporter’s words. KC had the worst offense in the AL last season and you consider bringing on Podsednik, Fields, Getz and Ankiel solid moves? Moore is an epic failure and these moves are the ones that have make the Royals terrible for years. Sorry to say I lost a lot of respect for you after this…

bbxxj
5 years 5 months ago

Tim, I’m glad you are chasing away all of the chaff, followers and sheep with your, you know… original thought.

Soxball
5 years 5 months ago

Please bbxxj tell me how a team with the worst offense in the AL benefited from adding 5 players with career OPSs of:
.720
.669
.660
.763
.752

I love original thought, when it’s correct. So tell me how these moves helped the Royals. If you can statistically prove it to me I’ll declare your thoughts correct.

danks50
5 years 5 months ago

Are you kidding me?!?! Dayton Moore and nice job are words that for no reason should ever be grouped together. The guy always talks about “improving the teams on base percentage, blah, blah, blah” and then signs the likes of Mike Jacobs, Coco Crisp, and Jason Kendall. The guys a bottom of the barrel GM and the day the Royals actually extended his ridiculous Yuniesky Betancourt trading self was a great day for the fans of every other team in the AL Central.

Soxball
5 years 5 months ago

And he doesn’t respond. Exactly what I figured was going to happen.

Soxball
5 years 5 months ago

And he doesn’t respond. Exactly what I figured was going to happen.

Ricky Bones
5 years 5 months ago

You forgot Brian Anderson.

Gjf29
5 years 5 months ago

Besides the Abreu issue, I agree that Moore did a decent job this offseason, not saying great. I like the Ankiel signing really. They didn’t trade DeJesus. They have a solid 1-2 pitchers. They’ll be competitive and they have that improving farm system. Maybe 75-87 this year?

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

These are the 5 safest things to do on this site:
1) Bash Omar Minaya
2) Bash Dayton Moore
3) Bash Jim Hendry
4) Bash Ed Wade
5) Praise Jack Zdurencik

While much of it is warranted, I’m giving Tim some credit for eschewing a popular line of thought on this site. It isn’t an easy thing to do. To say Dayton Moore has done anything well on this site is setting oneself up for ridicule. As for me, I think the Arguelles signing has been underrated this offseason. Considering the Reds paid 23M more for Chapman when the difference in talent between the two isn’t anything close to that much, the Arguelles signing should have drawn more praise than it has. When you take the dollar amount into consideration, the Arguelles signing was the better move by far. I also think Ankiel at that price was well worth the risk. There’s not much to lose there – low risk, medium reward. I’m not a fan of the other signings as much but the Royals at least seem to understand that their future is not now and are not clogging up payroll and roster spots with mediocre players on multi-year deals. They should have a clear rebuilding path beginning next year with what is regarded as a farm system on the rise. They deserve some credit for that.

5 years 5 months ago

Not clogging up payroll and roster spots with mediocre players???…..So what do you call Jose Guillen, Yuniesky Betancourt, Jason Kendall, Scott Podsednik, Juan Cruz, Kyle Farnsworth…..

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

Since only Posednik and Kendall are relevant to the discussion (Royal’s offseason in review), that’s the only part of your comment that warrants a detailed response. First of all, I need to reiterate my statement which you conveniently cropped. The original statement was “mediocre players at multi-year deals that clog up payroll and roster spots.” Posednik has a one year deal and he isn’t blocking any rebuilding efforts. Is he mediocre? Yes, maybe even less than that, but you took the statement out of context either deliberately or out of carelessness. Kendall’s is a two year deal but his salary shouldn’t impede the Royals much in 2011, though I’ll admit it wasn’t a great signing. (I did say that I was not a fan of the signings outside of Arguelles and Ankiel…remember?) It’s a lot of money for someone expected to play a mentor role. Even still, overall it doesn’t hamstring any real long term plans for the Royals.

As for the other guys, they were not acquired this offseason and are irrelevant to this discussion. But even all of those players’ contracts (with the exception of Betancourt’s)expire at the end of this season and probably won’t be around next year either.

wolf9309
5 years 5 months ago

Most of those deals really are slightly ridiculous overpays, but the post is about this offseason, and of those, only Kendall and Pods are this offseason. Kendall was definitely overpaid, but Pods at least was at least just a one year deal for just one year- and at least neither of them is a long term thing. They weren’t great deals, but for a Dayton Moore offseason, this was fantastic, he actually made a few decent looking moves.

shakeyabuta
5 years 5 months ago

You and others fail to realize the likes of Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, Chone Figgins and others NOT sign with KC no matter what they offer and they don’t have anything to offer. Until the Royals start playing decent, no “good” free agent will sign.

I’m not down on the Jason Kendall singing. If anything, the Royals have a second “manager” that can go out talk to the pitcher without losing a trip to the mound. I think maybe they are grooming him for some type of coaching position…maybe replace Trey???

Robert Gaito
5 years 5 months ago

Kansas City has no place trying to sign Holliday, Bay, Figgins, ect. They are (trying, in their own way) to rebuild. They may not be going with the 100% youth movement like the A’s, or the Jay’s, but it would be a terrible idea for them to throw any money on players like those.

True, it is hard to lure marquee players to losing franchises, (ask the A’s about Beltre, Scutaro, and Chapman) but the Royals were never players for those kind of guys. Very foolish if they were.

The Kendall signing is being blown up in my opinion. With a young staff with alot of talent and potential, Kendall is a great fit. For that amount of money and years? maybe not. But what other free agent catcher avaliable had close to Kendall’s rep as a leader and mentor? none. He may not be able to hit, OR play good defense, but he is a good clubhouse guys who can light fires under his team mates.

I mean cmon, do you want your players looking up to and learning the game for Guillen?

twentyfivemanroster
5 years 5 months ago

LOL, Robert You just said the same thing that shake did.

Robert Gaito
5 years 5 months ago

Kansas City has no place trying to sign Holliday, Bay, Figgins, ect. They are (trying, in their own way) to rebuild. They may not be going with the 100% youth movement like the A’s, or the Jay’s, but it would be a terrible idea for them to throw any money on players like those.

True, it is hard to lure marquee players to losing franchises, (ask the A’s about Beltre, Scutaro, and Chapman) but the Royals were never players for those kind of guys. Very foolish if they were.

The Kendall signing is being blown up in my opinion. With a young staff with alot of talent and potential, Kendall is a great fit. For that amount of money and years? maybe not. But what other free agent catcher avaliable had close to Kendall’s rep as a leader and mentor? none. He may not be able to hit, OR play good defense, but he is a good clubhouse guys who can light fires under his team mates.

I mean cmon, do you want your players looking up to and learning the game for Guillen?

5 years 5 months ago

Calling Josh Fields useful is highly debatable, unless you consider striking out w/RISP and grounding into double plays useful

bas74
5 years 5 months ago

I agree. I’m not totally bullish on all of the outfield moves, as the Royals also have Mitch Maier who projects to be about as good as Scott P. at a third of the contract, and Brian Anderson is likely to spend the start of the season at AAA Omaha (he’s the only OF candidate with an option). They also have a clogged infield if Mike Aviles returns to form after Tommy John Surgery. I think one of the more understated moves Moore made was signing the bullpen pitching on minor league contracts. There are a lot of guys on that list with upside, and he has them to sprinkle all over the organization. The Royals bullpen was bad last year (in one week right after the all-star break they blew 6 leads in the 7th and 8th inning) and Moore did a lot to potentially improve that part of the organization at little cost. If the starting pitching stays healthy and the defense improves, this team will be interesting, even without strong hitting.

twnfan311
5 years 5 months ago

I agree w/ Tim, that other than the Kendall signing the Royals had a decent off season. Moore deserves some credit for getting something for Teahen rather than just non-tendering him, signing Arguelles, and not committing more than 2 years to anyone. The Royals have a lot of mistakes coming off the books next year and should be able to fill holes on the major league roster with a mix of veterans and guys from the farm. They are still 2 to 4 years away from being contenders in the central, but you have to start somewhere. Moore had to do something this offseason after all that money was spent on renovations to their stadium.

alxn
5 years 5 months ago

The sabermetric community tends to bash Moore relentlessly because he doesn’t put much weight into metrics. He is a very good scout and usually favors scouting over statistics.

The Royals look horrible on paper but they at least have some potentially high-upside players and their pitching staff could end up being above average as a whole. I’d expect the Royals to challenge for the #1 pick but the future is at least looking bright.

Ricky Bones
5 years 5 months ago

How’s that worked out for him so far?

alxn
5 years 5 months ago

the future is at least looking bright

TwinsVet
5 years 5 months ago

In all fairness, it’s not like there was much Moore could have done this offseason to turn things around.

Was he supposed to go get Bay or Holliday for his outfield?

Given his options and his resources, he could have done worse.

AaronAngst
5 years 5 months ago

Exactly – also, I’m guessing it’s not necessarily easy, even given the money is there, to get a free agent to WANT to play in KC. What the Royals need is minor league prospects that truly pan out… just like every other small-market team. That being said: 2 years and 6 million to Jason Kendall? That is an absolutely awful signing. He’s one of the reasons I found myself DVRing every Brewer game the last couple of years… had I not had the ability to FF through his at-bats, I wouldn’t have made it through the season.

Ricky Bones
5 years 5 months ago

That’s not the point. What he could have done is not bring in a bunch of players who are barely major leaguers or nont major leaguers at all.

disgustedcubfan
5 years 5 months ago

I think it’s possible that Getz has a good year for K.C. He’s a decent hitter, steals bases and plays hard.

tman89544
5 years 5 months ago

As a Royals fan i really don’t have a problem with any of these moves aside from podsednik. I don’t know what it is i just don’t see anything out of the guy. Hes been wildly inconsistent the past 3 years and i hate getting a guy like him with literally no upside. Kendall i am fine with because I grew tired of Olivo and Buck letting a ton of passed balls go by and throwing out noone. The yuniesky trade last year was awful but at the time we had no other choice because aviles was down and we had nobody else to play SS (luis hernandez was our starter for 2 weeks). If Aviles comes back healthy there is no question he should be our starting SS. I still wonder why they haven’t talked about moving Getz to SS. I know hes a solid 2b but why not try him at SS?

In reality, none of the offseason signings matter. You could hope Ankiel hits 30 home runs which is more likley than Pods, Kendall or Anderson having breakout years. But aside from Ankiel i don’t see anything out of the other 3. We are in the same position we were last year. If Davies, Hoch and Banniter can be solid (which all have the potential to) then we can potentially have the best staff in our division. Our bullpen will be better because Cruz and Farnsworth have to better than last year plus Soria should finally be healthy. We’ve been waiting for 3 years now to be a breakout player. Hes got the skills to be a top 3 3rd basemen in baseball but for some reason hasen’t put it together. I say the key for this entire season is if Gordon can breakout and the 3 young pitchers can be consistent. These moves do little more than plug some minor holes. Plus, looking at the trade deadline we potentially have a ton of people we can swing around and turn into prospects. Remember this IS Guillens contract year so you know hes going to play extra hard to see if he can get one more decent contract.

5 years 5 months ago

First off, I hate definitive editorialized opinions where the justification is also based on opinion. The truth is, the royals signed and traded for talent that would either be shelved in AAA for top tier teams or waived due to a lack of production. That said, they aren’t signed long term but the 2nd year for Kendall and the mutual option on Ankiel with an inflated buyout have to be viewed as questionable at best. Could they have signed both on 1-year no strings attached deals?? I’d like to think so as I didn’t read that teams were lining up for their services as reported on this site. Overall I would give the Royals a very generous C for their offseason. Anytime you have to preface a bold statement with “other than these mistakes” you know what’s about to be read is gonna be tough to swallow. Tim, if the Royals did a “nice overall job” then how are you gonna describe the teams that really knocked it out of the park this offseason????

5 years 5 months ago

The Royals acquisitions look like a Braves B-Squad. Dayton Moore needs to remember he’s with the Royals now, not every player who was deemed “decent” when he worked for Atlanta is going to be a productive Major Leaguer. If he can get production out of them, more power to him. I just don’t see that happening.

bannister19
5 years 5 months ago

Most of our Braves signings are minor. You’re acting like we’re basing our entire team off them.

The only player is Kyle Davies, who doesn’t have a guaranteed rotation spot.
Brayan Pena is a backup catcher who did solid with us last year.
Juan Cruz and K Farnsworth all had short time with the Braves long ago, and at least for Cruz he’s had very good success since. Farnsworth is..who knows? I doubt he was signed because of his short time with Atlanta.

bannister19
5 years 5 months ago

At least this is better than every article Joe Posnaski, Jeff Passan, and others who write about the Royals.

They focus on every single statistic and find the weak ones — the ones that differ them from Ryan Braun and Albert Pujols.
For example, if its not their UZR, it’s their OPS+, or their WAR, and they just keep finding things to bash the royals on while forgetting a few main points:
It’s a major improvement over last year.
The primary focus was defense and speed.
All of whom we’ve signed also have offensive upsides:
Ankiel, his power. 20-30 HR power.
Podsednick, in 3 of his 5 full seasons he’s had an OBP above 350.
B Anderson, look at his statistics off the bench. Damn good.

baconslayer09
5 years 5 months ago

Brian Anderson is a terrible hitter. You can’t just look at his bench stats (which comprises of only 90 plate appearances in his career) and say, hey, he’s got a .748 OPS coming off the bench. Thing is, you can’t forget that when he starts, his OPS is well below .700 and that’s where the majority of his PAs came from.

He will play some good defense, but that’s not really what the Royals need.

Rick Ankiel is low risk, but at the same time, Ankiel also had a .288 wOBA last year while keeping a similar BABIP in comparison to his good 2008 season.

Podsednik will be a decent player if he’s healthy, which is his biggest issue. He hasn’t put together back to back healthy seasons since 2003-2004.

The problem with Moore is that he isn’t filling in the right places for this team. The outfield was an issue last season, but it wasn’t worth getting three outfielders for. The pitching staff outside of Greinke, Meche, and one good month from Hochevar and Tejada wasn’t very good. The bullpen in front of Soria was also bad. The offense has trouble scoring. The team is filled with holes, but getting Podsednik and Ankiel, two very questionable offensive players, to try and improve the offense isn’t the answer. Could he have done better? I don’t know, honestly. But wouldn’t you rather bring in somebody like Jermaine Dye to DH and play right on occasion than getting Ankiel?

bannister19
5 years 5 months ago

I agree that Brian Anderson is not a good hitter.
However, he has some upside as a possible bench bat. His OPS off the bench is actually 803. That’s a good upside for a player that is otherwise, pretty bad offensively. He’s found some success. Also, check the Royals last year, and years before, the offense wasn’t obviously good, but the biggest problem (aside from the bullpen last year), was Defense, and speed. I do however agree that it’s worthless to have good defense if they can’t hit. But Brian on the bench does not seem like a bad idea.

For Ankiel, he has solid, a little avearge defense in center, and his biggest asset is his power. Something Anderson, Podsednick, and Getz obviously don’t have. So we’re counting on those questions. (Ankiel, Gordon, Fields)

As for our pitching staff, aside from Greinke, take a look at Meche’s and Bannisters numbers (all of them..ERA, WHIP, WAR, FIP) before they got injured. When healthy, thats three very good arms in the rotation.

Hochevar did not have 1 good month, just pure shit aside from 3 Games.
We had some solid work from Tejada and Davies in the final month, before they went down as well.

Finally, his objective this off-season wasn’t to build a team to compete with the Yankees, but to improve defense and speed, which was accomplished, wouldn’t you say? I would take Dye as full time DH if we didn’t have Gullien. But he’s gone next season, so we can sign a washed up veteran. If we manage to compete at all this year, Carlos Delgado will be available.

bannister19
5 years 5 months ago

I agree that Brian Anderson is not a good hitter.
However, he has some upside as a possible bench bat. His OPS off the bench is actually 803. That’s a good upside for a player that is otherwise, pretty bad offensively. He’s found some success. Also, check the Royals last year, and years before, the offense wasn’t obviously good, but the biggest problem (aside from the bullpen last year), was Defense, and speed. I do however agree that it’s worthless to have good defense if they can’t hit. But Brian on the bench does not seem like a bad idea.

For Ankiel, he has solid, a little avearge defense in center, and his biggest asset is his power. Something Anderson, Podsednick, and Getz obviously don’t have. So we’re counting on those questions. (Ankiel, Gordon, Fields)

As for our pitching staff, aside from Greinke, take a look at Meche’s and Bannisters numbers (all of them..ERA, WHIP, WAR, FIP) before they got injured. When healthy, thats three very good arms in the rotation.

Hochevar did not have 1 good month, just pure shit aside from 3 Games.
We had some solid work from Tejada and Davies in the final month, before they went down as well.

Finally, his objective this off-season wasn’t to build a team to compete with the Yankees, but to improve defense and speed, which was accomplished, wouldn’t you say? I would take Dye as full time DH if we didn’t have Gullien. But he’s gone next season, so we can sign a washed up veteran. If we manage to compete at all this year, Carlos Delgado will be available.

baconslayer09
5 years 5 months ago

Brian Anderson is a terrible hitter. You can’t just look at his bench stats (which comprises of only 90 plate appearances in his career) and say, hey, he’s got a .748 OPS coming off the bench. Thing is, you can’t forget that when he starts, his OPS is well below .700 and that’s where the majority of his PAs came from.

He will play some good defense, but that’s not really what the Royals need.

Rick Ankiel is low risk, but at the same time, Ankiel also had a .288 wOBA last year while keeping a similar BABIP in comparison to his good 2008 season.

Podsednik will be a decent player if he’s healthy, which is his biggest issue. He hasn’t put together back to back healthy seasons since 2003-2004.

The problem with Moore is that he isn’t filling in the right places for this team. The outfield was an issue last season, but it wasn’t worth getting three outfielders for. The pitching staff outside of Greinke, Meche, and one good month from Hochevar and Tejada wasn’t very good. The bullpen in front of Soria was also bad. The offense has trouble scoring. The team is filled with holes, but getting Podsednik and Ankiel, two very questionable offensive players, to try and improve the offense isn’t the answer. Could he have done better? I don’t know, honestly. But wouldn’t you rather bring in somebody like Jermaine Dye to DH and play right on occasion than getting Ankiel?

damnitsderek
5 years 5 months ago

If Dayton Moore ever sees this article, the next time somebody tells him he failed this offseason, he’s going to bring up this article and say “See?! See?! Somebody besides me thinks I’m doing a good job!”

It was generous of you to write that Moore did a good job, but by signing three very, very mediocre outfielders when Kansas City only needed one at the most, not to mention Jason Kendall, Moore really did not do much to improve this team. Also, I’d say it’s far too early to decide if the Arguelles deal is good or bad yet. He could turn out to be the next Orlando Hernandez, or he could be the next Rolando Viera.

5 years 5 months ago

Who?!?

damnitsderek
5 years 5 months ago

‘Zactly.

damnitsderek
5 years 5 months ago

If Dayton Moore ever sees this article, the next time somebody tells him he failed this offseason, he’s going to bring up this article and say “See?! See?! Somebody besides me thinks I’m doing a good job!”

It was generous of you to write that Moore did a good job, but by signing three very, very mediocre outfielders when Kansas City only needed one at the most, not to mention Jason Kendall, Moore really did not do much to improve this team. Also, I’d say it’s far too early to decide if the Arguelles deal is good or bad yet. He could turn out to be the next Orlando Hernandez, or he could be the next Rolando Viera.

damnitsderek
5 years 5 months ago

‘Zactly.

Stoibs
5 years 5 months ago

None of these signings outside of Kendall are terrible, but you have to wonder what the Royals could do with the money they are going to use paying Ankiel, Kendall and Pods? 9 mill guaranteed for three below average players is a lot of scratch, especially with a payroll in the 70 mill area. Salcedo signed for 1.8 and Ruiz will end up signing for 2+. Now wouldn’t it be nice to have these two guys over Kendall and Pods? I can forgive Ankiel if he hits for some power and Moore did a nice job with a bunch of minor league signings: Humber (former top prospect), Anderson, Rupe, Thompson, Livingston and claiming Hernandez. The Royals will have a lot of option now in case of injuries, which is more than I can say for the last couple years. Oh and the fact that Guillen is still on the roster is a huge blemish on Moore. Kila needs the at bats ad would be way more productive!