A horrible finish ruined the 2017 season for the Kansas City Royals, who finished third in the AL Central with a 80-82 record, missing the playoffs. The Royals needed to have a great offseason, with stars Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas all facing free agency. Let\’s take a look at what they did in the offseason.
Notable additions: 1B Lucas Duda, CF Jon Jay, RHP Wily Peralta, OF Michael Saunders, Ricky Nolasco, 3B/OF Cody Asche, INF Ryan Goins, RHP Blaine Boyer, OF Tyler Collins.
Notable subtractions: 1B Eric Hosmer, CF Lorenzo Cain, LHP Jason Vargas, LHP Mike Minor, LHP Scott Alexander, RHP Joakim Soria, RHP Peter Moylan, RHP Trevor Cahill, RHP Chris Young, OF Melky Cabrera, DH Brandon Moss.
What they did well: not much. They were able to get a steal on Moustakas, who signed a one year deal for $6.5 million. That\’s about it.
What they did bad: The entire team is gone. It seems like everybody left, but Moustakas and Alcides Escobar, who re-signed. They made some trades to help them, but nothing major, like a Danny Duffy move.
Sneaky sleeper: With Jorge Bonifacio suspended, someone else will go here. That\’s where Whit Merrifield comes in. Merrifield secured the starting second base job in 2017, hitting 19 homers, having a .288 batting average, and stealing 34 bases on top of that. The Royals may be bad, but that\’s no reason for Merrifield to not be noticed.
Incoming outbreak: In his rookie season, Jake Junis was quietly good for both the Royals and my fantasy team. Junis had a 4.30 ERA in 98.1 innings, and with the departure of Vargas, Junis is now their second or third best starter.
Unsuspected slump: The starting shortstop and leadoff hitter, Alcides Escobar played in 162 games for the second consecutive season, and the third year in four years. But, his all-around game is falling, especially his specialty of stealing bases. The former 30 base stealer nabbed just four bases in 2017, the same amount he stole in 38 games in 2009. If he lost his speed, he\’s lost his game.
Blue-chip Bopper. With everybody gone, Mike Moustakas goes here. Moustakas broke the Royals\’ single season home run record in 2017 with 38. Though his surgery from two years ago is slowing him down, he\’s still their best hitter.
Astounding ace: After the tragic passing of Yordano Ventura before last season, Danny Duffy took the realms of being their ace, and had a 3.81 ERA in 146.1 innings. He\’s not that great, but it\’s the best they got.
Here is the Royals\’ projected roster, starting with their lineup.
SS Alcides Escobar (R)
2B Whit Merrifield (R)
3B Mike Moustakas (L)
C Salvador Perez (R)
1B Lucas Duda (L)
LF Alex Gordon (L)
RF Jorge Soler (R)
DH Cheslor Cuthbert (R)
CF Jon Jay (L)
Here\’s their rotation.
LHP Danny Duffy
RHP Jason Hammel
RHP Jake Junis
RHP Ian Kennedy
RHP Wily Peralta
Kelvin Herrera (R) is their closer, with Brandon Maurer (R), Nate Karns (R), Brian Flynn (L), Blaine Boyer (R) and Sam Gaviglo (R) in the bullpen as well.
C Cam Gallagher (R), OF Paulo Orlando (R), INF Adalberto Mondesi (S) and C Drew Butera (R) are on the bench.
Finally, for my prediction. I think the Royals, a team on the decline, will not make the playoffs in 2018.