The Royals season is over. We all know it, but there is still plenty of things to discuss regarding this team. The Royals going into next year have several key situations to address. Moore will have several key decisions to make to improve the team and put some talent around Greinke and co.
Here is my breakdown of the Royals roster and suggested improvements. Obviously the bullpen wasn't nearly as good as Moore had hoped.
Coco Crisp - I think the Royals should keep him. There aren't many leadoff type players like Crisp out there and when healthy, Crisp is a solid defender, tough out and it's really nice to project him in the outfield next season. I think the Royals would have been a far better club with him healthy all season.
Jose Guillen - The Royals need to somehow get out of this contract. He has next season remaining at over 12 million which could be used in other areas that I will touch on. Guillen is just not worth that money, and he is potentially blocking a more productive, healthier player. Dump.
Gil Meche - Yes Meche has good stuff, but he is erratic...and not worth that big contract. The Royals are likely going to be stuck with Gil for the next year or two. So, I expect Meche will be back in 2010.
First Base - Billy Butler, Mike Jacobs and Kila Ka'aihue - Butler has emerged as a solid hitter. I can only imagine what Butler could do with men on base. He is however not a good defender, and the Royals will need to find someone via free agency or trade, that can play the position. A guy I like is Travis Ishikawa...and I think he might be available as the Giants have several younger, more promising players on the come at that position. Mike Jacobs as a DH is ok - but that average and k ratio are brutal. At 29 next season, Jacobs may be what he is - little upside and 20 homer potential. I think the Royals are better served playing Kila at first all year and rolling in Ishikawa or another first bagger. Butler had 9 errors here, I guess he could improve. Change is needed here.
The middle infield - Some questions about Mike Aviles and his durability. He's been injured quite a bit and he's just begun. Betancourt? Really? Not sure I am sold. Callaspo seems to have locked down second base. The Royals need a SS - One with some hitting ability. Jeff Bianchi has been toiling around for awhile....can he make the club?
Outfield - This is the Royals biggest area of concern. I pointed out the Crisp situation and he should be retained. I also feel that Mark Teahen needs to go. The guy does not hit for power, and is not someone the Royals can count on. Dejesus, who I am a big fan of, needs a smaller role - The Royals need to find someone, a right handed hitter, who can play a corner outfield position everyday. Mike Cuddyer or Jayson Werth would be excellent players in that role - The Twins will likely not retain Cuddyer, and the Phillies are going to have payroll issues next season. Werth could become available.
Pitching - The Royals have some excellent pitchers and pitching prospects. They are very deep in this area, but the one thing the Royals need more than anything is a setup man. The Royals need to spend some money in free agency and land a couple of arms for the pen. It is a must. I also believe the Royals need to find a left handed starter not named Mike Hampton. They could make a trade....involving some prospects. I wonder if the Angels have long term plans for Scott Kazmir. Kazmir could be an effective pitcher for the Royals.
With some minor shuffling of the current team, some wise spending in free agency and maybe one or two trades the Royals could find themselves in a much better position for 2010.
Here is my projected team.
Maier / Dejesus / Betancourt / Ka'aihue /
Several relievers should be changed - Sean Burnett (WAS) could be an effective arm.
Anyone not named Davies, Ponson, Chen