As you all well know the Royals have traded Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard to the Tampa Bay Rays for James Shields, Wade Davis and a PTBNL. Whether you like the trade or not, it happened. I took the liberty of looking at the WAR from the Royals 2012 roster, and then projecting the best case and worst case scenarios for the 2013 roster with the recent additions. The results are as follows:
2012 K.C. Royals:
The 2012 Royals position players and starting pitchers compiled an approximate bWAR of 16.6, with an approximate payroll of 55 million. That equates to about 3.31 million per WAR. We had very good seasons from Butler, Gordon, and Escobar, as well as decent seasons from Perez(injury), Moustakas, Cain, Guthrie, and Mendoza. The unfortunate injuries to Duffy and Paulino probably cost us about 3 wins. As well as the atrocious play from Hochevar, Sanchez, and Francouer costing us about 6 wins. Injuries happen however, and good teams prepare for them, bad signings however shouldn't happen and the three latter could have been avoided. Like it or not that's how the season went.
2013 K.C. Royals Best Case Scenario:
With the additions of James Shields, Wade Davis, Ervin Santana, and the resigning of Chris Getz and Jeremy Guthrie the Royals have on paper gotten better. Their projected 2013 salary is approximately 80 million. I believe the best case scenario, not accounting for injuries, would involve planning on an enormous amount of luck. Assuming that Sal Perez stays healthy and produces for 120 games, Escobar, Cain, Gordon, Butler, and Moustakas produce at their 2012 level or slightly better. Hosmer rebounds to a positive WAR. Dyson plays center and Cain plays right for a full season meaning no negative Frenchy WAR. James Shields produces 3 WAR or about his average. Guthrie produces at his level last year for a full season for about 2 WAR. Wade Davis settles in as a solid #3 and gives us 1.0 WAR. Mendoza is himself and Ervin Santana reverts to close to his 2011 form and gives us 1.7 WAR. Duffy and Paulino come back healthy and on time and contribute in the last month and a half. If everything possible could go right for the Royals I think they could have 36.8 WAR from their lineup and starting rotation, meaning the bullpen is still a push from last year. That would deliver an average cost/WAR at 2.17 million/WAR. Obviously this would be a tremendous improvement from the previous year, and it would mean our cost per WAR has gone down over a million per WAR even while adding 25 million to the payroll. Obviously this will all never happen because we don't live in John Lennon's utopian dream. But if it were to happen it would mean we would almost assuredly win the division as we would be 20 games better than last year and the Tigers won the division last year with a record of 88-74.
2013 K.C. Royals Worst Case Scenario:
After the acquisitions the Royals have made this off-season, they still acquired Luke Hochevar, and after Dayton Moore's press conference today, it still sounds like their going to give him every opportunity imaginable to make the rotation (which pisses me off to no end). So I could see a scenario where he gets, say 6,10,15 starts, who knows. However many starts it takes for them to realize he sucks and there's no fixing him, which for this bunch could be awhile. They also brought back Getz, even though I personally believe you give Giavotella, Falu, and Abreu every chance to fight it out for the 2B job and then play whichever one is hot. The white elephant in the room is now that Dayton traded away our golden ticket in Myers, Jeff Francouer is guaranteed the starting RF job until who knows when. With a scenario of Hosmer not rebounding, Gordon and Butler regressing slightly, Frenchy in RF all year, Getz at 2B all year, Hochevar getting starts, Shields being above average instead of great, Ervin Santana pitching like his 2012 self, Wade Davis not being a solid #3 and closer to a #4, I could paint a scenario where this team's starters and position players have a 20.5 WAR. This is obviously an improvement over 2012, but at a steep cost. The payroll being at 80 million now has a cost/WAR of 3.9 Million/WAR. Which is obviously moving in the wrong direction.
Now to be honest I think the Royals will fall somewhere squarely between these two estimates. Accounting for injuries, and some players regression, I would say it's more likely we have a 28.0 WAR team. That would be an 12 game improvement over last year and would put our record in the neighborhood of 84-78, which is fantastic considering we've only had 2 winning season my entire life, and one of them was the '85 World Series team. The Chicago White Sox finished at 85-77 last year and were in second place, which is right where I think we are destined for. Detroit is a monster and I think unless they have some serious injuries(Verlander) that there's no way we're passing them. The two wild cards last year had records of 93-69, which puts us about 8 games behind them. We will probably be playing meaningful baseball at the beginning of September, but not long after. I believe we are still a stud pitcher away from being in contention. The good thing is that in the 2013-2014 off-season we have Hochevar, Santana, Getz, Chen, and Frenchy coming off the books which is approximately 24.5 million. I think signing next year's Greinke is off the table, but there's no reason we can't sign next year's Anibal Sanchez. Pair him with Shields, Davis, Mendoza, Paulino, Duffy, and hopefully Zimmer and you have a good mix of depth and options. Then you pick up an average to above average RF to replace crazy eyes and you could push yourself over the 90 win mark.
Just for fun I assembled what I would have like to have seen done had I been the GM. The results are as follows:
2013 Dream K.C. Royals Scenario
In my dream scenario we don't sign or tender Hochevar (DUH!!!), Getz, or Guthrie. I would also not have made the trade with the Rays for a number of reasons. I would have started Cain in RF with Dyson in center and then brought up Myers in May and moved Cain to center. I would have signed Anibal Sanchez for whatever it took, let's say 5years/90mil for a shot. I also would have signed Brandon McCarthy for 2years/16mil. Hopefully Jake Odorizzi would have been able to come up sometime around when Myers would for a rotation in May of: Sanchez, McCarthy, Odorizzi, Mendoza, Chen. Chen would be going to the pen as soon as Paulino or Duffy were ready. I would also give the 2B job to Abreu or Falu. With these projected moves I would have an approximate payroll of 70 Million. On a conservative guess this team should produce approx. 30.6 WAR. Which equates to a 2.26 Million/WAR cost, which would be stellar. The Royals have now shown they're willing to spend close to 80 million so I would still have about 10 million in payroll flexibility to add at the trade deadline if we felt so inclined. The approx. record for said team would be 86-76 without adding anything else. The nice part about this is we would be poised for a monster season in 2014 when Chen, and Frenchy come off the books, and Zimmer hopefully being ready for the bigs. After payroll increases we would be at about 65million with all of our role players still signed and have 15 million dollars to go out and get a stud 2B and/or another quality arm, after these additions we could easily be a 90 win team, with a hopeful playoff birth. Obviously we'll never see any of this come to fruition, but it's nice to dream.
In summation, thanks as always for reading, and let the ripping and tearing of flesh begin.