The following is what I would do in the hypothetical event that I was magically plucked from my mundane construction job and slammed ever so harmoniously in to the king's chair of Royals General Manager. This would entail Dayton Moore being fired, which I'm sure would be to the delight of many, but that's for another article entirely. Clearly this article is a little premature, as the season isn't even over yet, but let's face it, the Royals season has been over for some time now, am I right? So without further ado, my plan to get the Royals in the best possible position to finish in that much coveted spot of finishing second in the AL Central to the Tigers next year, which would be a vast improvement over this year and should at least leave us with record over .500. Like Rany pointed out in his last article, the Royals owe $51 million next year and could spend between $80-85 Million, which would give them $29-34 Million of space to play with.
1. Sign Anibal Sanchez: Easy enough right, just sign a solid number 2 starter that will be largely coveted by most of the league. Sadly this is exactly what the Royals need to do. Their starting rotation right now for opening day will look something like this:
3. Luis Mendoza
4. Bruce Chen
This is all assuming Odorizzi breaks with the big club, which unless he falls apart in spring training shouldn't be a problem. Signing Sanchez would instantly make him the Ace of the staff, the only condition obviously is can you convince him that he is our only missing piece and pay him enough to steer him from all other teams. Rany thinks it would cost 5/$75 or upwards of 5/$80. Let's say we get him for 5/$80. That's $16 million a year, and adjusting for inflation is just a little better than the Gil Meche deal, only you're getting a better pitcher (that Trey Hillman won't have a chance to run in to the ground.) That put's our salary at $67 million now. And we have a front of the rotation pitcher.
2. Sign Jeff Keppinger: The Royals haven't had any of their second base prospects step up and establish themselves as a solid 2B option. Getz had a semi-solid season, only if you consider the atrocious season he was coming off of in 2011, and even the he was oft injured. Keppinger is coming off of a .325/.367/.439 season with 2.8 WAR. He would fit perfectly in to the platoon role as explained earlier this week in an article on this very site. Getz could platoon and back up the other infielders, or they could use Abreu or Falu. Regardless Keppinger would be a huge upgrade and could probably be signed for 2yr @ $8 which would bring our payroll now to $75.
3. Wil Myers in RF: This is the most obvious of the options, and wouldn't cost the Royals anything extra. We all expect Myers to be up, if not by the start of the season, then by Mid May, June at the latest. Jeff Francouer was the worst Royals position player for quite some time. To say that he regressed from 2011 is an enormous understatement. The first mistake was giving him a 2 year deal, the second was letting him play all of last year. Myers had almost as many home runs (37) as Frenchie had RBI's (49). Myers OBP (.387) was higher than Francouer's SLG (.378). Often they talk about a player in the minors being blocked because of a stud in the majors, say Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar for instance, well this is like the complete opposite of that. Never has a player had a larger argument against being blocked. Myers is so obvious and would be such a massive upgrade at right even if he's 75-80% of what his numbers were in the minors.
4. Re-sign Jeremy Guthrie: Not the most glamorous of signings, but it needs to be done. He showed that he can pitch well away from Coors field, and he could be kept for 2 Years at $8 million per. He would start the season in the rotation that would now look something like this:
1. Anibal Sanchez
2. Jake Odorizzi
3. Luis Mendoza
4. Jeremy Guthrie
5. Bruce Chen
That rotation isn't awful, and can only improve from there. When Paulino and Duffy come back from TJ surgery, around May or June, you would see Chen become a long relief guy, Paulino hop in to his rotation spot, and Duffy and Guthrie can fight it out for the other spot. If you have a rotation of Sanchez, Odorizzi, Mendoza, Paulino, Duffy with Guthrie and Chen waiting for injury spot starts or long relief, I would feel really good about that mix. That is light years ahead of where we have been recently and you aren't talking about any ground breaking stuff. Plus you would have Sanchez, Duffy, and Odorizzi signed for quite some time. Guthrie would probably come at a price of what Keppinger will get, something like 2/$8, which brings our grand total to $83 Million. They can compete with that payroll and still make money, or at worst break even. That would field a lineup that can hit, hopefully play some defense, and pitchers that can keep you in games. I imagine a lineup looking something like this:
1. Alex Gordon 7
2. Jeff Keppinger 4
3. Eric Hosmer 3
4. Billy Butler DH
5. Mike Moustakas 5
6. Wil Myers 9
7. Salvador Perez 2
8. Alcides Escobar 6
9. Dyson/Cain 8
Bench: Cain/Dyson, Falu/Getz/Abreu, C-Pena or whomever, Frenchie :(
I wouldn't be upset at all with these moves if the current GM made them. We all know that is unlikely to happen however. I'm sure he will bring in some Kyle Lohse type, add some meaningless bullpen arm that we don't need, and throw in a Yuni-like utility guy. They'll spend money so we don't keep calling them cheap, and then next year they'll fire Yost or Dave Eiland since they'll need another scape goat. And we'll continue to see more of the same. My heart hopes that won't happen, but history and my head tell me otherwise. Anyways, if you've made it this far, thanks for reading, I appreciate any and all comments. Hope you guys have a wonderful offseason.