It is officially football season, ladies and gents. The Boston Red Sox are officially the World Series champions, the baseball season is officially over, and the Royals off-season festivities will begin very soon. Remember this gem?
#Royals say they have a "major baseball-related announcement" to make at 4 p.m. That suggests -- suggests -- a free-agent signing.— Bob Dutton (@ByBobDutton) November 21, 2013
There have been some eventful off-seasons in recent Royals history. In the off-season between 2012 and 2013, the Royals traded Wil Myers, Mike Montgomery, and a flurry of other prospects for James Shields and Wade Davis. They’ve gone out and acquired Alex Rios, Kendrys Morales, Jason Vargas, among others that played integral parts of championship runs.
Last off-season was a bit different. With the departures of Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer from the team, the Royals brought Mike Moustakas back on a one-year prove-it deal and supplemented that with...Blaine Boyer?
You can bet that this current off-season will look much different than off-seasons in the past. The Royals for the first time in a while have something of a logjam (maybe glut is a better word) of young(ish) position players. There’s not really a position in the lineup that can’t be filled in-house for the 2019 Opening Day lineup, including bench roles, so there’s a decent chance we don’t see any movement in the lineup at all this off-season. That means your 2019 Opening Day roster looks something like this:
- Ryan O’Hearn - 1B
- Hunter Dozier - 1B/3B
- Adalberto Mondesi - SS
- Whit Merrifield - 2B
- Salvador Perez - C
- Cam Gallagher - C
- Alex Gordon - LF
- Brian Goodwin - OF
- Brett Phillips - OF
- Jorge Soler - OF/DH
- Jorge Bonifacio - OF/DH
- Rosell Herrera/Ramon Torres - UT
With Nicky Lopez and Cheslor Cuthbert both looking for roster spots come Spring Training, the Royals really don’t have room to sign a position player free agent, unless they want to cut bait with one of our aforementioned players.
On the pitching side of things, that’s a little different. You can never have too many pitchers and the Royals have showed the willingness to go out and acquire pitching depth/fliers in the past (Boyer, Buchholz, Grimm last off-season). Patrick Brennan weighed in on Twitter with his thoughts on the matter:
And for Royals offseason predictions— Patrick Brennan (@paintingcorner) October 29, 2018
Royals sign a big name reliever (Robertson, Britton, Allen)
Royals don’t trade any major pieces. Only minor housekeeping trades.
More Rule 5 guys!
Some flippable veterans mixed in. Some that’ll I’ll like, some that I won’t. https://t.co/JwDvbvyKwC
“Royals sign a big name reliever...” caught my eye. To be honest, I can see the Royals making a move like that. I think Zach Britton may be a little too expensive for the Royals, but Cody Allen is coming off of the worst season of his career and is getting ready to be 30 years old. That smells exactly like the type of move that Kansas City would make. Bring in the former Indians closer and see if you can’y fix him, then flip him for a prospect at the deadline.
If you made me guess right now, here’s what my Opening Day pitching staff would look like for the Royals in 2019:
- Jake Junis
- Brad Keller
- Ian Kennedy
- Danny Duffy
- Heath Fillmyer
- Tim Hill
- Jorge Lopez
- Kevin McCarthy
- Wily Peralta
- Jake Newberry
- Richard Lovelady
Those 11 guys feel like locks unless there is a trade. Lovelady dominated AAA last year and deserves to be on the Opening Day roster. Service time manipulation is the only excuse for him to not be there. I almost added Josh Staumont to this list...but I don’t know. I wouldn’t be shocked if he stayed in Omaha. Eric Skoglund was really bad and I wouldn’t mind seeing him in Omaha for a bit, though I imagine he’s probably bound for KC.
That leaves two roster spots for a free agent or from an internal promotion. Could Cody Allen round out the bullpen? David Robertson? It’s definitely possible.
The Royals appear to have their roster mostly set for the 2019 season, unless they begin trading people. The problem with this current club is that, quite frankly, there is almost zero depth. Arnaldo Hernandez has been pitching well in AAA, fan favorite Frank Schwindel is there, Josh Staumont and Eric Skoglund are both in the system, but the starting pitching depth is really thin. Especially considering the injury history of Duffy and recent string of injuries to Ian Kennedy. It would definitely behoove the Royals to sign a couple of fliers on minor league deals to start in AAA.
What do you think? Do you guys like the current state of the Royals roster? Where do you draw the line between a logjam and a glut? Could there be more Rule 5 selections? Free agent signings? Only the future knows for sure. Let the off-season festivities begin!