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Beginning the Off-Season- Some Thoughts on the Royal Free Agents

Damn. How in the hell is this team supposed to get better exactly? Heading into the off-season, the Royals own one of the smallest crops of free agents in baseball:

KANSAS CITY (5) -- Brian Anderson, lhp; Denny Hocking, of; Jose Lima, rhp; Joe McEwing, 3b; Scott Sullivan, rhp.

Note: Sullivan has excercised his option

Quite the crop here, huh. Lets see: a guy who just finished one of the worst seasons ever for a full-time starter (LimaTime), another reliver who hasn't pitched since 2004 (Sully), which severely undercuts his rep as a rubber-arm, and a third starter who was one of the worst pitchers in baseball in '04, then spent 90% of '05 on the DL (BA). Add in the motely mix of Denny Hocking and Super Joe McEwing and its an even more amazingly bad group.

Step right up interested suitors! These hot properties won't be around all winter!!

I think we're due for another Lima disappearance, followed inevitably by him posting a 2.00 ERA in some Independent League somewhere, signing a minor league deal, and going 5-2 with a 5.00 ERA for a random team next season. Does anyone think this won't happen?

As for Brian Anderson, the word on the street continues to be that the Royals want to bring him back -- predicated on Glass/Baird getting him to agree to a minor league contract of course -- which isn't a bad idea I guess. Then again, how will the Royals not be out-bid here? With the annual fetishization of the merits of pitching about to begin, isn't it logical that someone else will throw $750,000-1M at him and take a gamble? You don't really expect the Royals to have such a good idea that no one else sees it, do you?

As for Hocking, McEwing and Sullivan: just say no. The Royals have a decent, cheap, bullpen, and Sullivan will likely command too high a price to justify his existence. Expect the Royals to offer him a 2 year 4 million year that makes no sense. No doubt, no doubt.

Finally, with great resignation, I'd bet my left arm that (lots of "bet" language tonight, huh?) the Royals decide they just can't live without some version of Hocking/McEwing on the roster. Its important to have good character guys like that, as we negotiate the rocking shores of that 50-70 win range. Lets dream big and waste roster spots on player-coach types who'll help marshall our crumbs of talent toward a 5th place season that at least threatens the Tigers. Hurraa!!