The Royals are considering re-signing designated hitter and former face of the franchise Mike Sweeney for 2008. Sweeney, one of baseball’s nice guys, had this to say:
"I think this team is going to turn into a winning team real soon, and I definitely want to be here when it happens. Next year, rather than being tagged with being the $11 million man, I’ll be the guy who is getting $11 over the minimum."
If his back will allow it, Sweeney might try to play another couple of seasons in hopes of reaching the playoffs as a Royal. He tried yoga last winter and had the usual quotes about feeling great. In May he even talked about moving back behind the plate for ’08. But he was again sidelined, this time with a knee injury that required surgery.
The Royals may try to eke a little bit of defensive value out of young Billy Butler by using him at first base next year. That’d allow them to sign Sweeney for half a million bucks or so. It’s not like Butler would be putting in 150 games at first anyway; even 100 healthy games from Sweeney would be a surprise. There’s a myth that Sweeney hits when he’s out there, but a .252/.329/.423 line in 421 ABs since the start of ’06 says otherwise. The average DH is hitting .264/.350/.433 this year. If the Royals retain Sweeney, it’d be purely for his clubhouse qualities. They could easily find a DH to match Sweeney, even by calling up their own free talent guy in Craig Brazell.
Bob Dutton’s article notes that the Royals have a good $30MM to burn this winter, but want to focus on adding a starting pitcher. Here’s another look at the list. There are a number of interesting plays the Royals should consider – Freddy Garcia, Matt Clement, Bartolo Colon, Kyle Lohse, and even Curt Schilling (if he’d do Tampa Bay, why not KC.) If they’re looking to go young as they did with Gil Meche, I could see Lohse or Carlos Silva on a somewhat overpriced three or four-year deal. Yeah…I think Silva’s getting four years. And Lohse is represented by Scott Boras.