Alot of things need to be fixed with this Royals club and if I was the GM, I wouldn't waste any time starting. As far as the starting pitching goes, I wouldn't look to trade anyone away unless I got a mindblowing offer for Gil Meche or Brian Bannister. I'd be more than satisfied to go into next season with our four primary starters of Greinke, Meche, Bannister and Hochevar and have a spring training competition for the #5 starter between Kyle Davies, Bruce Chen and perhaps any cheap free agent pitcher out there that could be servicable. The starting rotation is one part of the team that is in good shape in my opinion and I would perfer to keep it that way. In my opinion, you can't have too much starting pitching and that's why I'd be very reluctant to trade one of these four away to strengthen other parts of the team.
Now as far as the bullpen goes, I'd blow it up as much as I'm able. The only guy I'm certain to want back for next season is Joakim Soria. The rest of them would be expendable to trade or release or demotion to Omaha. Dayton traded away one of the best set-up men in baseball, Ramon Ramirez last year and another good reliever in Leo Nunez an it really came back to bite him in the backside. There would be no such risk this off season. We're probably stuck with Kyle Farnsworth for another year with that God awful contract we're paying him and I'm afraid Juan Cruz is signed for a second season as well. Mahay's contract will be over at the end of the season and he'll be outta here. I really have no interest in re-signing him. I'm not a big fan of John Bale at all and if we're not obligated to him, he can be outta here as well. Robinson Tejeda and Roman Colon are boarderline keepers. Both have good stuff, but they also struggle with their control quite alot. I don't see either one of them as the answer for being our 8th inning man. Personally I'd keep Tejeda around and send Colon packing. Tejeda has the arm to be a good set-up man and I'd give him a shot at it if he can harness his control. Jamey Wright has had his hot spells and his cold spells this season. Ideally he should pitch no later than the sixth or seventh inning of a close game. I don't think we're obligated to him for next season, so I wouldn't go out of my way to re-sign him either. I'd go after the best bullpen arm available in free agency, one righty and one lefty. I'd like to fill out the bullpen with at least one pitcher in our system who we plan on being a starter someday. I like the idea of breaking a promising starter into the big leagues in the bullpen. He can earn his way into the rotation if it pans out. If it doesn't, send him back to Omaha to work things out.
Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot we can do to improve the infield defense from my perspective. The one infielder I would be willing to trade who still has some trade value is Alex Gordon. I've rooted for him every since he arrived to the majors, but I don't see a budding superstar here at all. I see a middle of the road third baseman who may never make the All Star team. Unfortunately, with the way our team is configured with weak offensive production from our outfielders, we need more than that. We don't have anyone ready to take his job in the minors so we'll probably have to play him at third if we can't trade him. I'm not excited in the Yuniesky Betancourt trade at all. We've got him and a rather lofty contract for the rest of this season and the next two years, so we can't move him. Hopefully Aviles will be totally healed by the start of spring training and can compete with Betancourt for the shortstop job. I think a healthy Mike Aviles is a better option. I would look for an option to Callaspo at second base. Alberto has been solid at the plate, but not so much in the field. I'd look for a faster player, who can give us more range, a better glove and more stolen base potential. If I can't, having Callaspo around is not a bad thing, but the right side of the infield will still lack seriously in defense and range. Billy Butler has to stay. Case closed. I'd maybe replace him at first if Kila is the better fielder, but his bat needs to be in the line-up. I'd make every effort to unload Mike Jacobs. He can't field, he can't run, he can't hit lefties and he doesn't put the ball in play enough. His OBP is pathetic and his power numbers aren't that good to make him worth keeping on the team. I'd let him go and give Kila Ka'aihue his spot on the roster. Kila strikes out alot too, but he walks nearly as often and he drives in runs.
I've had it with both of our catchers. I'd let both Miguel Olivo and John Buck go. Both are terrible at defense and getting on base. Miguel does have a decent stat at throwing out baserunners, but he also airmails his fair share of throws to center field as well. Olivo does a lousy job of blocking pitches and is the most undisciplined major league hitter I've ever laid eyes on. John Buck just sucks. He can't ever hit over .240 and he's one of the worst throwing catchers the Royals have ever had. Let them both go. I'd rather give Brayan Pena a chance and John Suomi who's in AA Northwest Arkansas a shot at winning the job next spring. Perhaps we can make a trade with the Rangers for a catcher. They have 2 promising young catchers in Tyler Teaharten and Jared Saltalamacchia. I believe they also have a good catching prospect in AAA as well.
The outfield is a problem as well. First, we have a broken down right fielder who we spent way too much money on who'll never be the player Dayton Moore hoped he was getting. We're obligated to him for one more season. Personally, I'd love to trade him, but with his contract, he's virtually untradable. I'd make him a DH, perhaps platoon him with Kila. Here's where we're going to have to find a quality free agent. We must pick up a quality free agent for one of the outfield positions. I don't think Coco Crisp is worth the $8 million club option for next season, so I'd probably buy out his contract and let him walk. Personally, I want to get the best centerfielder available on the market. Someone who can cover the spacious gaps at the K and steal 40 or more bases. I know there's always talk about trades when Mark Teahen's name is brought up, but we always need him to fill a hole for an injured player. He's got no business batting clean-up, but until we can get some star power on the offensive side, he's a must have player on this team. I would rather find a taker for David DeJesus in a trade. In all honesty, DeJesus would be a fourth outfielder on most major league teams. Players who can't hit 15 homers and steal 10 bases have no business being a starting outfielder. I'd like to see the likes of Chris Lubansky, Jordan Parazz and Scott Thorman given a shot next spring at a corner outfield or 4th outfielder positions. Mitch Maier has got to figure out how to hit major league pitching by the end of the season or I wouldn't even consider him in the major league plans for next season. For now, I would consider Willie Bloomquist a keeper for super utilityman. He's done the job very well and due to our misfortunes with injuries this season, he's playing more often than he should.
Comments and thoughts?