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The infinite possible futures of the Royals

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Infinite is a very large number.

Tampa Bay Rays v Kansas City Royals
The Royals say everything depends on this guy
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Recently one of my old college buddies got in contact with me. He’d been working on an invention that would allow him to create wormholes through time and space. Now I’ve known about this project for a long time but for a long time it was very unstable; he had no control over where he was going which meant it was very difficult to return home. Apparently after his early test runs he eventually made it home and has been working on perfecting the guidance system ever since.

Now that he has control over when and where the portals will take people he wanted to do some more testing. Since I loaned him $10 once, he decided I should be among the first to experience this incredible event. When I arrived at his home/office/lab he told me we could visit any past time or any possible future. His computer was all set up to search the infinite possibilities. So, of course, I suggested we check out some future Royals teams. I decided to focus on the alleged fulcrum of the decisions the Royals are going to make this off-season.

Eric Hosmer re-signs with the Royals

Since Hosmer signing with the Royals is the primary variable as reported by most of the media I decided that that should be the first one we investigated. He did a quick search on his computer and pulled up a few million hits for that outcome. I chose a handful of these at random, set the arrival time to be the end of the 2018 season (though I occasionally jumped further forward to see what the 2018 results would lead to), and jumped into a spinning, flashing portal.

In most of these dimensions Hosmer only signed with the Royals because his contract values became depressed by a lack of suitors. He signed an average contract of about $65M for 4 years. In one of those universes he actually got the 10 years/$200M deal he was allegedly seeking once upon a time, but the Royals’ owner in universe Orange 76 was Scott Boras. Also in Orange 76 Hosmer tore a ligament in his elbow throwing home in the first week of the 2018 season and never played again because Tommy John had never played and no one had a clue how to perform his eponymous surgery.

In many of the others Hosmer played a little better or a little worse than he did in 2017. In universe Pie Cake Donut Beta he hit .182 with 6 home runs and 12 RBIs but that was worth the triple crown there because the mound was six feet high and baseballs were the size of marbles. In ZipZapZoom Hosmer finally found his flyball swing while MLB did nothing about the juiced balls. He belted 106 home runs, which wasn’t the record because Giancarlo Stanton hit 127, and the Royals scraped into the Wild Card Game. Unfortunately their best available pitcher was Jeremy Guthrie who promptly blew a 10 run lead in the third inning against the Minnesota Twinkies (that’s not a nickname in ZipZapZoom, that’s actually the official team name.) The Royals went on to lose 21-16 despite Hosmer’s 5 bombs.

Eric Hosmer moves on

Given the infinite nature of the multiverse there were worlds where Eric Hosmer signed with literally every other MLB team, including dozens that aren’t even in our reality such as the the Charlotte Spiders, Honolulu Surfers, and the New Delhi Pythons. Hos had an infinite number of outcomes with all of those teams but, unsurprisingly, the vast majority of the Royals teams I visited without him got nowhere near the playoffs. The first Hosmer-less team I visited lost 120 games in 2018 but actually made it to the ALCS in 2019. They were led by Kyle Zimmer’s pitching and Bubba Starling’s hitting, though, so I wouldn’t consider that a particularly likely outcome. I happened upon one universe, Beta Beta Beta, where the Royals didn’t sign Hosmer but they did get Shohei Ohtani. That team went 81-81 then spiraled out of control as Dayton Moore’s front office continue to draft poorly and get fleeced in free agent deals. There was also a universe labeled 76 Trombones where the Yankees signed Hosmer and the Royals were surprise competitors until the final week of the season when Hosmer’s Yankees, who were sixth place in the AL East entering the series, came into town and swept the Royals when Hosmer batted .678 with 4 home runs, including 3 game winners off of Kelvin Herrera who was closing again to knock them out of the hunt.

My favorite of these universes might be Office Blue where the Royals managed to resign Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain even without Hosmer. They dealt Ian Kennedy and Bubba Starling for salary relief and lost 90 games in 2018. But by 2019 Hunter Dozier, Raul Mondesi, Chase Vallot, Donnie Dewees and Yefri del Rosario were all ready to contribute. Guys like Jorge Bonifacio and Whit Merrifield were still solid. Alex Gordon added one last solid campaign from basically out of nowhere when he re-invented himself as a slap hitter in the vein of Ichiro with far less speed. Scott Alexander was the closer since Joakim Soria and Herrera were both long gone. It was a fun, young team and they got a game 163 that they unfortunately lost. It was basically the perfect storm for the Royals’ weakened farm system and it was so much fun to see. Except for the part where Office Blue is a universe where the dominant sentient lifeforms had evolved from arachnids so everyone had furry carapaces and eight midnight black eyes above pincer-clad mouths. That part was terrifying. And when the crowd did the wave... *shudder*

Of course, as amazing as my friend’s machine is it can’t tell you which future will be the one our universe actually follows. We can write off a bunch of them - the Royals didn’t draft Mike Trout so he won’t carry them to victory like he did in Universe 972AH45LZ. But there’s still no way of knowing which of these other amazing, infinite futures we will see, next year, and it’s far more likely that we’ll see one I never visited at all.

Poll

Here is a button that lets you live in a universe where the Royals are perennial playoff contenders but you have to live among spider people. Will you press it?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Press the button
    (197 votes)
  • 19%
    Do not press the button
    (87 votes)
  • 34%
    Place the button in an impenetrable safe, forget the combination, melt the key, and fire the whole thing into the sun.
    (152 votes)
436 votes total Vote Now