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What would you do this off-season if you ran the Royals?

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You make the call!

Milwaukee Brewers v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The Royals are shuffling their front office again, and it’s you who are now in charge! What would you do if you ran the Royals this off-season?

You have seven players eligible for arbitration. They are listed here with the projected salary from MLB Trade Rumors:

  • Andrew Benintendi – $9.3MM
  • Adalberto Mondesi – $3.2MM
  • Brad Keller – $5.2MM
  • Cam Gallagher – $900K
  • Scott Barlow – $2.4MM
  • Ryan O’Hearn – $1.4MM
  • Nicky Lopez – $2.0MM

Do you non-tender anyone?

Here is what the club payroll looks like for 2022:

Royals future payroll

Player 2022 2023 2024 2025
Player 2022 2023 2024 2025
Salvador Perez $18,000,000 $20,000,000 $20,000,000 $22,000,000
Carlos Santana $10,500,000 Free agent
Mike Minor $10,000,000 Free agent
Andrew Benintendi $9,300,000 Free agent
Brad Keller $5,200,000 Arbitration Free agent
Hunter Dozier $4,750,000 $7,500,000 $9,250,000 $10,000,000 (C)
Michael A. Taylor $4,500,000 $4,500,000 Free agent
Adalberto Mondesi $3,200,000 Arbitration Free agent
Whit Merrifield $2,750,000 $6,500,000 (C) Free agent
Scott Barlow $2,400,000 Arbitration Arbitration Free agent
Nicky Lopez $2,000,000 Arbitration Arbitration Arbitration
Ryan O'Hearn $1,400,000
Cam Gallagher $900,000 Arbitration Arbitration Free agent
13 players $7,800,000
Total $82,700,000 $32,000,000 $29,250,000 $22,000,000

Here is a list of free agents. There are a few areas you could address for the Royals:

Outfield

The Royals will likely have Andrew Benintendi and Michael A. Taylor in their outfield, but right field is still a question mark. Do you roll with Hunter Dozier? Will Adablerto Mondesi get playing time out there? Will we see Kyle Isbel in the big leagues? How many times will you option Edward Olivares to Omaha?

Would you add a free agent outfielder to help the lineup? Starling Marte could play center and help the lineup with a great power/speed combo, but perhaps his defense plays better in right field? Is Michael Conforto a nice young-ish bat that can provide power in the corner? What about bringing back World Series MVP Jorge Soler? Or do you splurge on Nick Castellanos who has already made a name for himself in Kansas City?

Starting Pitching

The Royals have a promising crop of young pitchers, but they began dropping like flies towards the end of the season. The club could use more depth to protect the arms from having to ramp up too quickly to a lot of innings. Young pitchers like Carlos Rodón and Robbie Ray enjoyed bounce back seasons. Eduardo Rodriguez is also young and had a much better FIP than ERA. The Royals drafted Jon Gray out of high school, could they pursue him again? Could the Royals bring back old friends like Danny Duffy, Johnny Cueto, or even Zack Greinke? Or do you look in the bargain bin for a Carlos Martínez, Michael Wacha, Drew Smyly, or Corey Kluber?

Relief Pitching

The Royals have a good core with Josh Staumont, Scott Barlow, and maybe Jake Brentz, but they’ll need to do better than the trio of 35+ year olds they brought in last year with Greg Holland, Wade Davis, and Ervin Santana. Don’t expect the Royals to pursue big name closers like Mark Melancon, Kenly Jansen, or Raisel Igelsias, but they may be able to find guys that could provide depth, perhaps an Archie Bradley, Yimi Garcia, or Corey Knebel.

You could also work out some potential trades:

Athletics

Oakland is expected to slash payroll this winter, and they have a whole rotation that could be dealt. Former Royals lefty Sean Manaea has had trouble staying healthy, but he made 32 starts this year and still has tremendous upside. Chris Bassitt and Frankie Montas are other pitchers who the A’s may want to shed due to payroll reasons, but are quality young starting pitchers. The Royals could even use a player like Ramon Laureano, who has to miss some time due to a banned substances suspension, but that could reduce the asking price for the young outfielder who has hit .235/.325/.416 with2 0 home runs in 142 games from 2020-21.

Padres

San Diego is looking to contend, but they are desperate to get under the luxury tax threshold. They would love to deal Eric Hosmer, but the Royals already seem stocked at first base. Perhaps another old friend - Wil Myers - could return to play right field, although he has an expensive $22.5 million salary for 2022.

Rays

Tampa Bay is seemingly always overturning their roster and no one seems to be off-limits. The Royals could use a bat like Austin Meadows, who went one spot later than Dozier in the 2013 draft. Ryan Yarborough is coming off his worst season and is due to be eligible for arbitration, but he has been a versatile rubber-armed pitcher who could really help out a staff like Kansas City’s.

Reds

Cincinnati GM Nick Krall has already said the Reds must “align our payroll to our resources”, allowing Wade Miley to go to the Cubs off waivers despite coming off a 5 WAR season. Other Reds pitchers could become available like Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, or Sonny Gray. The Reds have needed a shortstop for years, could Nicky Lopez interest them? They could also move lefty reliever Amir Garrett, who is coming off a poor season, or swingman Jeff Hoffman. They could try to cash in on a breakthrough season from outfielder Tyler Naquin. The Royals don’t need a third baseman with Mondesi possibly playing there and Bobby Witt, Jr., but maybe the Royals can find a role for old friend Mike Moustakas.

Give us your off-season plan with a few trade ideas and free agent offers you’d make.