Now, barring the obvious and hilariously terrifying realization that Dayton Moore will be running your life for the next month (what if he trades my car in for a Segway, becomes best friends with my weird neighbor, and dumps my girlfriend for her lack of grit?) we are now going to focus on the you-being-the-Royals-GM aspect of our little story.
There are several factors facing your team right now, all of which you've been charged to fix over the course of the next month. They can be boiled down into a few categories:
1) Lack of offense. Seriously, your offense sucks, you need to fix it. These guys need one more impact bat, and it's your job to go out and find him. Right field would be ideal, since the Royals lack power and corner outfield is usually a good source for power, plus Aoki is struggling and his contract is up after this year. You have two third basemen on the major league roster, but that is another position to possibly look to upgrade.
2) Fan base unrest. If you were the GM of, say, the Red Sox, you can blow up and rebuild and cut whoever you want, because some fan bases have been to the playoffs in the last 3 decades. You do not have that luxury. Any attempt at doing anything other than trying to win in 2014 will be borderline riot-inducing. If this team doesn't make the playoffs this year, your job security is very much in question, so it's best not to let people think you're looking beyond 2014.
3) Contract statuses. "The Trade" has left you with two players that have high value but even higher contract costs for 2015. James Shields will command too much money on the free agent market for you to even think about resigning him, and Wade Davis, although absolutely dominant as a reliever, has a 7 million dollar club option in 2015, followed by 8 and 10 million dollar options in '16 and '17. 7 million would put him at the 4th highest-paid reliever in baseball, and he struggled mightily as a starter in 2013. Other than those two pitchers, Hochevar and Chen are the only ones set to become free agents after this season.
4) Struggling young stars. Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, in particular, have been nightmarishly awful this season. What do you do about their positions? And upgrade at 1B or 3B would help this offense tremendously, but how would the club react to sending down one or both cornerstone pieces and seeing if they could find their swings in Omaha? They are not helping your club win today, but they are so entrenched as a part of the future that any GM willing to make a move with either one better be damn sure it's the right move. The last thing you want is to cut Moose and have him show up with another club mashing the baseball.
So that's where the club stands right now. You certainly have some intriguing prospects in the system (Mondesi, Zimmer, Starling, Bonifacio, Almonte, Cuthbert, Dozier, Manaea, Calixte, Eibner, Binford, etc.) with most of the blue chip bats being SS, 3B, or OF.
Who do you target at the deadline? Who do you move out? Will your focus be on the 2014 major league season, or on the organization as a whole? Can these Royals compete as they are currently assembled, or are the playoffs a pipe dream for 2014? Does trading Shields necessarily signal throwing in the towel on 2014? What would the asking price be for Ben Zobrist? Do you have the guts to demote Eric Hosmer?
What will your boss say when Dayton exclaims that nobody wants to talk about the good things he's doing at work? Could you fix GMDM's team faster than he could tear down your life? All these questions and more, answered on this Royals edition of Freaky Friday.