The Royals’ defense of their World Series title ended today as the club finished with an even 81-81 record. Here are some season-ending notes as K.C. looks ahead to a rebound year in 2017…
- Lorenzo Cain won’t hit for the next two months, but he tells Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star (Twitter link) that he otherwise expects a normal offseason training routine. Cain reiterated that his bothersome right wrist won’t require surgery. The outfielder missed almost all of September with the bad wrist, capping off an injury-plagued season that saw Cain play just 103 games. The health problems undoubtedly contributed to Cain’s .287/.339/.408 slash line over 434 PA, a below-average showing give how well he performed in the previous two seasons. Cain is a free agent after 2017, so a return to good health and good form will be very lucrative for him.
- Right-hander Dillon Gee will undergo thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star writes. The procedure usually carries a recovery time of 4-6 months, so Gee could be ready for the start of Spring Training. Gee signed a minor league deal with the Royals last winter and posted a 4.68 ERA, 6.4 K/9 and 2.41 K/BB rate over 125 innings, working as both a starter and a reliever. He has another year of arbitration eligibility before hitting free agency following the 2017 campaign.
- Paulo Orlando has emerged as a bit of a late bloomer in the Royals’ eyes, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan writes. The outfielder just delivered his best offensive season at age 30, though manager Ned Yost would like to see Orlando develop some more power. Some other holes exist in Orlando’s game (a 2.7% walk rate, and perhaps an overall inflated slash line due to a .382 BABIP) but he has put himself into the conversation for at least a part-time outfield role in 2017.
- Cheslor Cuthbert is on his way to the Instructional League to get some second base work, GM Dayton Moore told FSKC’s Joel Goldberg (Twitter link) during the pregame show of today’s Royals broadcast. Though Cuthbert had a solid rookie season, he could be fighting for a roster spot next year since the Royals will have Mike Moustakas returning at third base, and Raul Mondesi, Christian Colon and Whit Merrifield all in the mix at second. Learning to play multiple positions, of course, is an obvious boost to Cuthbert’s chances. He has appeared in a handful of games at second in the majors and minors and also played some first base, beyond his primary third base position.