The 2011/2012 off-season looks to be fairly significant for the Royals going forward. 2011 was the year that Dayton Moore's highly touted prospects began to make it to the majors. The Royals are done rebuilding. It is over. They need to look at contending for the division every year and it can start in 2012.
It has been tough enough for the Royals to just to get to 0.500, not alone going beyond that point. Becoming competitive does not mean trading off every good minor league prospect to make a one year run. Instead, it means seriously putting a team on the field that just needs just one or two "ifs" to fall into place for them to play for the division title. The team currently is in position to make that final leap into contention. Here are the steps needed to put a competitive team on the field in 2012.
Mendoza, O'Sullivan and Mazzaro should not be in the discussion for a SP job going into Spring Training. These 3 are not good pitchers. They are not going to come in a make a difference on the 2012 team. If they are starting, they will be lucky to post a 5.00 ERA and suck up a few innings per game. If the brass in KC mention any of these 3 names are a solution for 2012, they have not done enough in the off season to bring pitching to Kansas City.
The Royals have some free agent and in-house options that should be tried first before any of those 3 get a sniff of a starting job. At Royals Review there have been way too many discussions on the possible cheap, decent pitchers. While none of these will be true #1's or aces, they are at least not the dredges the Royals played in 2011. Sean O'Sullivan got 10 starts. Kyle Davies 13. Teaford and Adcock 3 each. Having a 2 WAR to plug in is a better option than a -2 WAR pitcher.
The Royals need 8 starting pitching options. Paulino, Hochevar, Montgomery and Duffy are the only pitchers that should be on the 2012 staff. With this scenario, it looks like there is only 1 spots to fill, which is incorrect. 40% of all starters spend some time during the season on the DL. The Royals need to look at going into 2012 with 8 starting pitchers (8 pitchers * 40% = 3 on the DL or 5 healty ones), not named Mendoza, O'Sullivan or Mazzaro. Also, the additional pitchers will be available when other pitchers fall on their face. Real, decent solutions need to exist.
It would be nice to bring in 3 starters for the major league staff and have Duffy and Montgomery start in AAA. Just one other pitcher, internal or external, needs to be in place for a call up (like Bruce Chen in 2009).
Chris Getz is not in the 2B equation. Chris Getz will be Chris Getz, an OK fielding 2B with no power. He is not going to help the Royals win anything.
I am not sure that Johnny Giavoltella is the answer either, but the Royals need to find out in 2012. If Giavoltella, doesn't work out, fine. The team moves on with possibly Colon or Navarro playing 2B. They need to find a productive 2B, which Chris Getz is not.
Trade several bullpen arms. The Royals bullpen was really decent in 2012. Teams are always looking for bullpen arms. The royals need trade some with the highest current value.
The one pitcher to look at trading is Greg Holland. Fans may want him has the heir apparent to Soria. It is the bullpen and they can be put together easily. The Rays 2011 bullpen was anchored by 2 Royal castoffs, Kyle Farnsworth and Joel Peralta. People should not get attached to bullpen pitchers.
There will always be options to put failed starters in the bullpen. If the options arises for decent 2B or SP, bullpen arms should be the first to go.
With the need for starting pitching the should not trade Wil Myers. Wil came off a very rough 2011 season and his value could not be any lower. Teams may look to take advantage of his low value. He may be a nice bargaining chip to get some needed help, but the Royals will be selling low.
Wil has added some value will his play in the Arizona Fall League, but he is still not as highly regarded as he was last off season.
None of these moves will be easy to pull off or popular, but they are doable, and needed, in order to turn the Royals into a winning team. Some people look at 2012 as more of a rebuilding year. It may be, but it should not be written off. Without going all in, the Royals could put together a team that has a chance of being competitive. Several great pieces are in place for future, the rest of the puzzle now needs to be finished.