Offseason In Review: Kansas City Royals

The Royals are next in our Offseason In Review series.

Major League Signings

International Signings

  • Darwin Castillo, Igor Feliz

Notable Minor League Signings

Extensions

Trades and Claims

Notable Losses

Summary

Once again Royals GM Dayton Moore spent the offseason focusing on the long-term health of the organization.  Moore accommodated Greinke's trade demand, moved Royals mainstay DeJesus, locked up Butler, and dabbled with a few stopgap free agents.

There is a sense that Greinke forced the Royals' hand with his trade demand, but as ESPN's Keith Law points out, they weren't obligated to do anything.  Law felt the package received from Milwaukee was more about "bulk and fit, but not impact."  Granted, Law likes Jeffress and Odorizzi less than other prospect gurus, but it was surprising to see the Royals trade two years of an ace starter and not receive one top 50 prospect in return.  Perhaps the Royals felt that Greinke's desire to move on would adversely affect his 2011 performance and reduce his trade value, and that their backs were up against the wall due to the pitcher's no-trade clause.  He'd already rejected a trade to the Nationals that might have been superior.

Law was also down on the DeJesus return, as Mazzaro does not project as even a "medium-impact pitcher" in his mind.  Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein profiled Mazzaro as "a solid fourth starter who can eat up innings," ranking him tenth among the organization's strong group of 25-and-under players.  Ten Royals prospects appeared on a top 100 prospect list compiled by Law, Goldstein, or Baseball America, so the Royals can be forgiven for not shooting for the moon for one year of DeJesus, who was coming off thumb surgery.  Not that a team can ever acquire too much upside, but innings guys are needed too.

Meche made the classy decision to forfeit the $12MM remaining on his contract, preferring not to have the Royals pay him to rehab from shoulder surgery.  Moore did not spend the found money on pointless free agent signings, though on January 18th there wasn't much out there anyway.  Moore's free agent strategy was to commit the paltry sum of $7.75MM to Francoeur, Chen, Francis, and Cabrera.  These four aren't going to take playing time from top prospects, and Francis could even have trade value if he stays healthy.  Moore has been knocked for finally signing his boy Francoeur, but at that price there's little harm in seeing if he has another 2007 in him.

Butler

Unlike many extensions, I don't believe the Butler contract was about arbitration savings.  The deal pays Butler (pictured) $19MM for his three arbitration years, which represents minimal savings over what he might have gotten year-to-year assuming campaigns in the .300, 20 home run, 80 RBI range.  Instead, the contract is about projection: the arbitration years become a bargain if Butler develops more power, which seems possible since he turns 25 this month.  Plus, the Royals have a free agent season for $8MM and a club option for another at $12.5MM.  At worst the contract provides mild savings and a free agent year, but there is potential here for big savings.  And if Kila Ka'aihue and Eric Hosmer both prove big-league capable soon, that's a good problem to have.

The Royals have the consensus top farm system in baseball by a wide margin.  Moore has earned the opportunity to build a competitive club around his top young players as they graduate to the Majors beginning this year.  The Royals have lost consistently since Moore took over in 2006 and while they're a lousy team again this year, their farm system should catalyze a turnaround in the near future. 

Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.  Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


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


4 years 4 months ago

If the Royals wisely play the hand they have right now, they could be competitive as soon as 2012. Moustakas will be ready to join the ML team soon, and Hosmer actually looks ahead of Moustakas right now. Both could get significant experience this year and be ready to join the lineup next Opening Day.

Mike Montgomery looks like he could force the Royals hand as well, and if he gets off to a hot start in Omaha he might convince the Royals to dump/trade Bruce Chen and join the rotation in August or September.

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

free kila!

4 years 4 months ago

Uh, he is free.

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

oh brilliant, hadn’t thought of that

they’ve finally unleashed him – for now. but it’s way overdue and i don’t trust them not to screw with him some more

Otis26
4 years 4 months ago

If you mean DFA him I’m all for that. The guy is a bum – a figment of delusional, fringe Royals fans who are so desperate for a hero that they created him.

With any luck he’ll wake up long enough to put up some numbers and the Royals can trade him for a can of hash and let Robinson get a shot before Hosmer takes over.

4 years 4 months ago

You’ve gone way out of your way to bash Kila multiple times in these comments… did the guy pee in your Cheerios or something?

Otis26
4 years 4 months ago

No…it’s just that many Royals fans have made him out to be something that he isn’t.

jwsox
4 years 4 months ago

the best thing about butlers contract is its easily tradeable. If Kila and can solidify 1st with glove and decent pop. and if either Moustakas or Hosmer have the bat but not the glove for the bigs they can slot into DH and the royals could easily trade Butler and get a decent haul in return. I could see the ranger(maybe if they are uncomfortable with napoli/young at dh) the Blue jays could be in on him if they dont like lind) even the brew crew could work another deal one prince walks or the rockies could be in on him. Its really pretty nice for a team to have a 1st basemen/ DH who hits .300+ with 20 hr power(could get better) and can play good enough D to justify him being there.

daveineg
4 years 4 months ago

This is not a bad ball club right now. People are overlooking them because they are named the Royals. Stranger things have happened than a team like this staying competitive long enough to think about adding a pitcher in mid-season. They certainly have the parts to do it.

4 years 4 months ago

I disagree…I think this is a pretty bad ballclub right now. They have a few bats between maybe Butler and Ka’aihue and Gordon, but the rotation is terrible.

jwkc
4 years 4 months ago

That pretty bad ballclub is a couple of innings away from improving their record to 5-1.

TheHotCorner
4 years 4 months ago

I am not saying the Royals will be bad or good this year but using any teams record after 6 games as an argument is kind of meaningless. If that is the case then I guess the previously posted article of the Red Sox hitting the Panic button after going 0-4 just became relevant.

Appearances are that the Royals have a bright future ahead of themselves assuming all things play out as expected.

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

pirates are 4-2 it’s gonna be a wild world series eh friend

Otis26
4 years 4 months ago

How’d that work out for you?

4 years 4 months ago

6 games is a great sample size

Otis26
4 years 4 months ago

The fact that you added KK to your list of ‘bats’ is amusing and actually threatens your credibility.

4 years 4 months ago

Are you aware of what his PECOTA projection is?

Otis26
4 years 4 months ago

Yes…and that’s exactly what it is – a projection.

WrigleyTerror37
4 years 4 months ago

im loving this team right now there making all of the right moves, and heading into the right direction.
And on trading Butler the cubs could be intrested 2

Blue387
4 years 4 months ago

Francoeur stinks. That is all.

4 years 4 months ago

Excellent synopsis and commentary

4 years 4 months ago

I don’t really understand the criticism of not getting a “top 50″ prospect in the Greinke deal. BA had Escobar at 12 before the 2010 season. Granted since then he’s had one disappointing year at the plate in the NL, but the guy’s clearly got “top 50″ talent and only one year of ML service time used up…

twentyfivemanroster
4 years 4 months ago

Law is an idiot. He had a tough time placing the Royals farm system No.1 when many(i.e. Goldstein(BP), BA) have said it could be the best ever. He has no credit with me anymore.

Twinkilling61
4 years 4 months ago

Tim is right. The Royals rotation is terrible and so is their line-up. I have been waiting for Butler to have some of those doubles turn to home runs and it still hasn’t happened. (That last part is just out of fantasy angst)

twentyfivemanroster
4 years 4 months ago

Yet he happens to have 2 HR’s

Twinkilling61
4 years 4 months ago

So does Alberto Callaspo.

4 years 4 months ago

The signing of Suppan will save the 2012 #1 pick.

I mean add veteran leadership, yeah, that’s it. Leadership!

bannister19
4 years 4 months ago

Jake Ordozzi is ranked 37th on Johnathan Mayo’s list. The dude is incredible.