Why the Best Rotation Option is to Look Within

While the headline may seem like a somewhat cheesy and oddly baseball-related inspirational quote, what I mean is that the Kansas City Royals should look within their organization to fill their rotation unless a particularly Royals-friendly free agent signing or trade presents itself, which is unlikely in this market.

This would mean no trades for James Shields, Matt Cain, Gio Gonzalez, and no signings of CJ Wilson, CC Sabathia, or even Mark Buehrle.  Essentially, I'm arguing that the Royals should not trade any of their top prospects and not spend much money for the rotation.  Reasons:

1.  The Royals are likely not ready to contend.

This is the core reason why they should not spend loads of money or highly ranked prospects yet.  This is because they are not ready to contend this year (unless a good amount of luck is on the Royals' side).  This has been discussed in length here at Royals Review, so I will not delve into an explanation.

2.  The pitching market is thin next this year, while more plentiful next year.

The number and quality of available free agents not only affects the price of those free agents--it also affects the worth of pitchers that are on the trading block.  Apart from Wilson and Sabathia, the most valuable free agent is arguably Edwin Jackson.  When you consider that Wilson and Sabathia might go back to Texas and NY, that means that every single other team in baseball who is looking to upgrade their rotation in a meaningful way must either pay a premium on the other FA's or compete with each other for trades.

Next year the FA class is more talented, and while some are likely to sign extensions in the next year, this still will likely leave a greater number of more valuable FA's than this year.  This means that more teams will be able to sign impact FA's, which means that less teams will compete for trades, keeping the trade cost down.  What this means is that the Royals will likely pay more for less this year. 

3.  Royals would be selling low on many of their prospects

Monty didn't have a good year.  Neither did Myers.  Nor Dwyer.  Lamb just had Tommy John surgery.  Colon wasn't particularly good either.  If the Royals were to trade their top prospects, they would be selling low.  Not good for value.

What I do think is ok is if the Royals make a trade for, say, a number 3 starter with Melky and a couple of prospects not mentioned in the previous list.  But they should not go for the big guns. 

So, here's my solution:  fill the rotation with young arms that have promise from within the organization

Here's the thing that people always leave out:  this is (hopefully) the last year of ambiguity in terms of success.  The Royals might compete, but they probably will not.  When 2013 comes here, the Royals will likely be able to compete.  So, this is the last year in which the Royals can spend any significant amount of time experimenting. 

The Royals simply don't know what they have in many of the players.  They should give Crow a chance to be a starter--he was a number 1 pick after all.  They should give Teaford a chance to be a starter.  They should give Montgomery a chance to win a rotation spot.  They should let Duffy grow.  So in spring training, this is what should happen:

Rotation 2012:

Locks:  Luke Hochevar, Felipe Paulino

Competitors for other 3 spots:  Aaron Crow, Danny Duffy, Everett Teaford, Mike Montgomery, Vin Mazarro, Sean O'Sullivan, possibly Chris Dwyer or Jake Odorizzi (though not likely, could happen a la Nate Adcock/Crow)

If the rotation sucks?  Fix it with next year's better pitching class, but then the Royals know what they have with their own players.  If it doesn't?  Then they have a good rotation, more money, and their best prospects.  Win-win situation.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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