For the Royals, the season technically ended on October 5th in a loss against the Guardians—loss number 97, to be exact. Before that game, though, the organization had set in motion the path going forward, moving on from general manager Dayton Moore. After the loss on October 5th, the Royals then fired manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred.
J.J. Picollo, who had taken over baseball operations from Moore, made the calls on Matheny and Eldred. About a month later, Picollo tabbed Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro as the next Royals manager. About a month after that, the team poached Guardians bullpen coach, Brian Sweeney, to be their new pitching coach.
These were good moves.
These were even exciting moves.
Things were moving forward.
Then it came time to tweak the roster, make some moves for the future, to improve the 97-loss club now and beyond.
And...well...yeah. About that.
It’s one thing to be a bad baseball team, as the Royals very much were in 2022.
Sure, they were exciting things about the season, like the arrival of numerous rookies, including Bobby Witt Jr. and Vinny Pasquantino, and the emergence of Brady Singer.
Honestly, though, a team can never call losing 97 games in a single season a success. But it’s another thing to be bad and boring, which is exactly what this team is right now.
It all started with extending a qualifying offer to Ryan O’Hearn. How, pray tell, will bringing back he of a career -2.5 WAR improve the team? The 29-year-old who posted an OPS that was 27 percent below league average in 2022 is going to turn it around in 2023? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!
Then came the Winter Meetings, and fine, with the current financial structure of Major League Baseball, with no salary cap and no salary floor, the Royals were never going to be in play for the big ticket guys like Carlos Correa and Justin Verlander and Trea Turner and Jacob DeGrom (lol, Rangers). But there should’ve been some movement.
Again—this team lost 97 games last year! Improve it!
The saving grace of the Winter Meetings appeared to be the Rule 5 Draft, where the Royals had a prime shot at adding a quality player, and—
Oh, hey: they skipped their pick. Of course they did!
As of December 7th, no free-agent signings of any kind and no deals involving Major League players.
I've got a spreadsheet keeping track of all the MLB transactions this offseason. If my records are correct, there is only one team that has not signed a major league or minor league free agent or made a trade involving major league players. That team: your Kansas City Royals.— Greg Walker (@Gregnotcreg) December 7, 2022
Then, about a week later, the Royals made a move. They signed a catcher. A guy named...Jack...no, wait...Jackson...no, sorry...Jakson Ritz...no, I’m sorry...Jakson Reetz. There we go.
That is not me making fun of his name. That is me, an avid baseball player, having no idea who in the hell he is. Turns out, Reetz has appeared in two Major League games.
That same day, they signed Ryan Yarbrough, a lefty from Tampa who won 16 games as a rookie. He turns 31 soon. His ERA was 19-percent below league-average last year.
Then the Royals signed a couple more pitchers: Cody Poteet and Brooks Kriske. Most recently, the team dealt Wyatt Mills to Boston for a human named Jacob Wallace.
There’s a scene from Major League that comes to mind now where the longshoreman (played by the guy who played a cop in The Fugitive and the janitor in Scrubs) asks his buddy, “Who are these f—— guys?”
I feel that in my soul.
Then there are the rumors, and even those are boring, something I didn’t rumors could be!
The Royals might sign Seth Lugo! Cool that’ll get Kansas City down to 95 losses next year.
The Royals could be a landing spot for former World Series hero Eric Hosmer! Ah, nostalgia.
The Royals are talking to Jordan Lyles! The pitcher who’s posted an ERA above league-average once in his 12-year career? I mean, fine, I guess, as long as it’s just for one year.
Narrator: It was not just for one year.
But hey, at least the team spent some money. And on a guy whose name I’ve heard. He and Yarbrough are the only two who have that in common.
To boringly summarize, the Royals were bad last year and have signed two arms for a combined $20 million over three seasons while adding depth, depth, and more depth in the shape and form of shapeless and formless (and nameless) players.
What’s next? Will the Royals be in on trades? Will they move M.J. Melendez to a catcher-needy team? Will Adalberto Mondesi get moved to a team that missed out on the four major free-agent shortstops?
Maybe. But don’t hold your breath.
The offseason, supposed to bring hope to wayward fanbases, has so far only brought Royals fans boredom. Ownership, sadly, is more focused on a downtown stadium than a watchable product.
Welcome to the Kingdom of Bore.