The Royals have been very tricky lately. With fourteen pitchers (soon to become thirteen), and almost as many front office personnel and coaches, and a full fledged youth movement going on, its hard just to take a whack with an axe to get rid of people, tempting as that may sound because we have to get rid of the WRONG people. Yet, we all know both coaches and players must go. Metheny spent a year, a la Yost, getting indoctrinated into the Royals WRONG ways of doing things before he could become manager of the major league club with the coaches already preselected. Since the coaches and front office have the power, you cannot, like the old days, just change managers and expect better things.
Let me start with the player part of things since that is actually easier. Don't start with trading the good parts (Merrifield) for bit prospects that will never amount to anything. That has been the way of the last five years. Wade Davis for Soler, OK, but then Soler for ... Kalish. Instead, get rid of the weak links. The middle and strong links can keep the line moving, like Moose used to say, but the weak links cannot. Our weakest links are Santana, Hearn, Lopez, and almost as weak are Rivera and Sal Perez (even though I love Sal to death, he hasn't hit his weight this year).
The two weakest links, Santana and Hearn are the easiest to get rid of. Just release them. If you need Hearn's body, option it to Omaha as long as he stays out of KC. Dozier can play first, so can Pasquatino, Pratto, and all three can DH along with Perez and Melendez. And, Melendez, Pratto and Dozier all can play corner outfield.
In the infield, we lost our chance to trade Mondesi over the winter, but Lopez who was so good at SS last year, totally stinks now. That can be fixed by letting him be the utility infielder and fill in at second, short or third as needed, bringing Whit Merrifield back to second base where he really belongs. Lopez responded to demotion last year, and could do so again. However, these three moves, by themselves, give us at least some accountability again.
At third base, Rivera has potential, but needs competition. Dozier played third before, but was considered a liability in the field. No mind, the other positions are filled, so he will have to compete at third or not play. (That is a reason to change front office; the ones that signed Dozier will never admit the mistake). So far, we have added two (Pratto and Pasquatino) and subtracted two (Santana and Hearn) and benched Lopez..
In the outfield, Benintendi is our best player, but everyone knows he is a short timer. Michael Taylor is a great, overpaid fourth outfielder. Blanco looks like a young Jarrod Dyson, and could compete with Kyle Isbel, Edward Olivares, Brewer Hicklen is intriguing. We only can keep three additional players once we trade Benintendi. I like to think what would the brass do, then do the opposite. Our last three position players should be Blanco,Olivares and Michael Taylor with the others in the wings. Look Ma, no (really) weak links.
However, be prepared to let Rivera, Sal Perez, and Hunter Dozier earn their PT or they will be next.
The pitching staff is much harder. Brady Singer, Brad Keller, Daniel Lynch (maybe), are the linchpins of the rotation (good G-D). Greinke, I like, and would not trade him unless he demands (again) to be traded. He has command of four pitches and can tutor the pups in his own strange way. Plus, our chances of getting a meaningful piece for him are very low. Because he is a pitcher, and not just a thrower, he is a guy that could keep going for a few years possibly.
We have a host of others in the bullpen and Omaha to compete. TNTC. This conundrum we cannot solve until they change pitching coaches and managers. I believe the talent is there, but we do not know how to develop it.
Now the hardest part. We know the front office and manager are broken, and they all are intertwined in their roles and duties, so its nearly impossible to replace one unless, as the Donald says, we clean the WHOLE swamp. First, fire Dayton or make him an honorary position where he has no input into player or personnel decisions. Second, pick a general manager. Is Piccolo it? He would "have been a GM somewhere if he wasn't promoted," just like Trey Hillman would have been "hired if the Royals did not get him first." Pick a a manager at the same time, who can actually lead the team and has the power to pick his staff. The GM and manager have to be selected together so they are a team. The coaches should be picked afterwards.
We can sing our regrets till the cows come home about the ones that got away: pitchers Manaia, Strahm, Alexander, Boxberger, Junis or Wily Peralta, or players Schwindel, Jose Martinez, Jorge Soler, Khalil Lee, or others who shined elsewhere. It will not help and they were not that good anyway. We can praise Dayton for rolling the dice in 2015 and coming up with snake eyes. However, he kept trying to do the same thing in 2016, and 2017, and it resembled an episode of South Park rather than club building. Remember that episode? The town played roulette to save the trown, and won, and played again to be rich and lost it all. Zobrist was great but doncha think we overpaid?