So the season is pretty much over, and the only thing really left to do is to determine who on the current Royals roster stays or goes.
The Royals will have plenty of salary room going into 2011, so the team could improve quickly. Here's a list of players who the club needs to decide on, and my take on them.
David is one of the players left on the Royals from the old guard. I personally feel that if David is healthy he should be retained for at least one more year. David gets on base, drives in runs, plays good defense and provides an experienced veteran for a young Royals outfield. He can still be a relevant force for Kansas City.
Billy is a player that I really like to root for. However, he does not hit for enough power for his position and is at best, marginal at first base. He is a high contact hitter, and the Royals would be better served trading Butler for pitching. The trade would clear the way for Wilson Betemit, Kila Ka'aihue, Josh Fields and possibly Eric Hosmer to take the reigns at first base. It would also provide Kansas City with more pitching, and the Royals would at least gain one markedly better pitcher than they currently have.
More after jump....
Chris Getz is not an everyday major league player. He does not have a good approach at the plate, and is only a moderately good fielder. I would vote to retain Getz, as long as a parallel move is made to improve competition in the middle infield.
When Mike plays, he usually is one of the better Royals. He hits for average, fields well and seems to genuinely care about being in Kansas City. Aviles is a no brainer for the Royals, and should be given every opportunity to play everyday.
Wilson has been one the best hitters on the Royals all season. Every time he's given an opportunity, he makes the most of it. His glove is a concern yes, but if the Royals can clear out the log jam at first, perhaps Wilson could get time in at first, third, and DH. He is an excellent piece needed for Kansas City to continue it's development of young hitters. Betemit can provide stable run production for 2011, and perhaps as a solid bench player beyond that.
For the Royals to continue to improve they need to move away from Kendall. He should be released. The Royals can instantly improve at catcher by creating a competition between Pena and May. The Royals should also sign a "youngish" catcher to create depth at the position. Kendall is no longer needed.
Alex Gordon has just not hit. He has a terrible approach at the plate and occasionally gets a walk or a hit, but he is just not consistent. I would welcome Alex back but solely based on his age, original potential and the Royals continuing to add depth, to create competition. Gregor Blanco has been good at times, and invisible at other times. You can't teach speed though, and Blanco is a speedy outfielder with good defensive instincts. He's a keeper. Jarrod Dyson is already 26, and has some speed, and possibly a good glove, we just haven't seen enough yet. He's worth looking at again in Spring Training, on a limited one year deal, or minor league contract. Mitch Maier is a player that I like rooting for, one of the remaining old guard prospects. Maier has not improved, and with the wealth of young players in the Royals system, I think it's time to jettison Maier. Sorry Mitch. Jai Miller is 25, one of the younger guys the Royals have been looking at this September. He hasn't played much, so it's really hard to speculate at what Miller's skill set is. At this point I would say retain Miller and keep the outfield competition flowing.
Davies is just 27, and has set career highs in innings, wins, strikeouts and beard growth. Kyle at times has been impressive, and other times the old walk buggaboo bites him on the ##%. I like Davies, and he has good stuff. Bring him back for one more showing. An experience pitcher with good velocity is worth keeping around, especially considering that 27 is sometimes a breakthrough age for pitchers.
The Royals leader in wins and being Chen have given Chen a lot of currency with Royals fans. He could end up being the perfect "bridge" pitcher. Bridging the gap between the host of young Royals pitchers to the majors. Chen can work in any situation, and he's proven to be good at it. His numbers aren't great, but he can provide innings anywhere he's needed. He also shows the desire to be here.
Bullington, O'Sullivan, Humber and Bannister
Bryan Bannister is not a good starting pitcher. He has regressed, not improved. I think it's time for the Royals to polish the Bannister for the last time. Good Bye Banny.
The other returning candidates sort of instill depression. None of the remaining guys seem to inspire much faith in the Royals fan base. Of them, perhaps only Luke Hochevar garners some attention. Luke has looked solid at times, and his injury curtailed what could have been a good year for the former number one pick. Luke now 27, will be in the same boat with Davies. If they can both improve in 2011, the Royals will have several quality major league arms to build upon, but I firmly believe the Royals need to improve the rotation before anything else.
Joakim Soria is about the only pitcher here that is a no brainer. There have been some interesting performances by Robinson Tejeda, Phil Humber and Dusty Hughes. I honestly see no cement here. This area needs to be addressed as well. I hope the Royals can move past some of these pitchers and bring in several new faces to continue competition and improve the team roundly.
I have a simple plan to move the Royals into a better position for 2011. I feel that one trade, and several free agent signings can put the Royals on track for a winning second half in 2011, and perhaps a winning season in 2012.
Continue to improve outfield depth and competition.
Add at least one proven starting pitcher
Add at least one proven reliever
Add several prospect free agents at catcher, middle infield, outfield and relief.