I mean, they should update both. But I'm making you choose.
The Kansas City Royals need to upgrade in 2014 if they want to have a realistic chance of reaching the post-season. This seems clear to most people following the team.
There are also two obvious positions that could use upgrades, second base and right field.* This also should not come as a shock, since both positions needed upgrades before the 2013 season as well. Neither position seems to have been adquately addressed, so here we are.
*You could easily make the claim that SS and 3B could also use an upgrade, but barring injuries and/or somehing completely unexpected happening, you can pencil Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar in for 1200 combined plate appearances next season. Exciting.
In a perfect world, the Royals would go out this off-season and improve both right field and second base. Due to financial restraints, however, the team may only attempt to improve one of the positions in the off-season and make due with players already on the 40-man roster for the other.
So which position would your rather the Royals make an upgrade at next season, second base or right field? Here are the incumbents at the respective positions:
- Acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays
in August. He was having an abysmal season in Toronto, but managed to give the Royals 1.0 fWAR over 179 plate appearances thanks to league-average hitting, solid defense and spectacular baserunning. Career .262/.322/.340 hiiter, will be arbitration eligible in 2014.
- Been with the Royals since 2010(!). Is basically the definition of a replacement player, as he's compiled .5 fWAR over parts of four seasons. Hit .220/.2888/.273 in 2013. Will also be arbitration eligible in '14.
- Managed to quietly earn 2.4 fWAR in his rookie season, thanks to hitting around league-average and playing stellar defense. Posted a three percent walk rate, which ties him with Escobar for worst on the team. Is not Jeff Francoeur
- Acquired from the Houston Astros
around the trade deadline. Hit .252/.328/.436 over 262 plate appearances for Houston and Kansas City. Struck out in 30 percent of his plate appearances. Career .241/.358/.431 hitter against lefties.
Neither position features the most exciting group of players, but it does look like Dayton Moore has made some progress with the roster. Let's move on to potential free agent/trade targets for the respective positions.
RoyalsRetro wrote some fantastic articles about who the Royals should be looking for at second base
and right field
, so check those out for ideas on potential trade targets. Here is the list of eligible free agents, courtesy MLB Trade Rumors
Cano is out of the question, and I imagine Zobrist's option will be picked up.
is also a free-agent, but MLBTR (properly) lists him as a designated hitter. The Royals will likely be priced out of the Choo Sweepstakes, but he would be a great fit.
There are a few interesting names at both positions sprinkled around a bunch of meh. Overall, I think the potential trade market would be more interesting, but that would require the Royals surrendering talent, not just money.
It's certainly possible that the Royals will upgrade both positions, but my guess is they will focus on one. I would prefer the Royals upgrade second base and keep a Maxwell/Lough platoon in right field (if they can only upgrade one spot), but my guess is they will try to upgrade right field and use Bonifacio as the starting second baseman.
I'm curious what everyone else thinks about which position the Royals should be focused on upgrading, since there are arguments to be made for both sides. So I leave you with a poll on the issue, and hope that we can get a nice discussion going that has nothing to do with Billy Butler