Alex Gordon is Kansas City's best player. Billy Butler is the team's best pure hitter. James Shields is the best starting pitcher on the Royals.
Alex Gordon is signed through 2015 (with a team option for 2016). Billy Butler is signed through 2014 (with a team option for 2015) and James Shields is signed through this year with a sure to be picked up club option for the 2014 season.
Even with Alcides Escobar hitting .303 and Lorenzo Cain hitting .324 the Royals need Gordon and Butler. The immense potential and intangibles of Salvador Perez? Nice to have, but certainly more 'tangible' with Gordon and Butler batting up ahead of him.
Eric Hosmer is probably not going to slug .313 all season, nor Moustakas .225, but what if those two never become the stars that their one time lofty prospect status projected them to be? In the happy go lucky world of being a fan of the FIRST PLACE Kansas City Royals it is easy to overlook the possibility that Hosmer might really be the next Casey Kotchman and that Moustakas might be the next Brandon Wood.
On the pitching front, Jeremy Guthrie will be gone the year after Shields (and not any younger by then, either), while Ervin Santana is pitching as well as at any time in his career. It might not last and, if it does, he will be too expensive to resign at season's end. While the Royals' have not been a model for starting pitching development or rehabilitation, one can look at the return of Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino with some hope. As well as the sooner rather than later expectation of Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer reaching the majors.
All of the above is a long winded and poorly constructed way of asking one question. Do the 2016-2018 Royals have a better chance at contenting than the 2013-2015 group? Do you believe in a rotation headed by Zimmer, Duffy and Ventura with an offense relying on Hosmer, Escobar, Perez and Moustakas or is your money on Gordon, Butler, Shields, Guthrie and Santana?
It is a guess, but do you bank on Bubba Starling and Raul Mondesi Jr. (or others)? Or is right now the time for Kansas City to, you know, go for it?
With the trading of Wil Myers, the Royals have already headed down the go for it road. They know what they have in Gordon, Butler and Shields and it is all speculation on what they might have with Hosmer, Moustakas and Zimmer. When it comes to position players, there really is not an impact player of note that will conceivably come up through minors any time before mid-2015 at best.
Not to sound old or weird or both, but might a bird in the hand be better than two in the bush? If so, then you need to make the bird that you have bigger and faster and you, Dayton Moore, need to do it sooner rather than later. If the Royals' window is really the next three years instead of the five after that, then Moore needs to augment the current roster.
13-9 is nice. It's fun to see Kansas City at the top of the Central, but this team probably needs a boost to stay there. That boost does not appear to be coming from the minors, so Moore needs to start looking for ways to trade for that extra something that will keep the Royals in the race this year and certainly in 2014.