How to remake the Royals into a contender

Max recently asked the community how they would handle the offseason roster changes. This got me thinking and writing a response that was to long for the comments section, so I made this FanPost. I hope you enjoy the article and it triggers some discussion.

This Royals roster is a mess and cannot be entirely fixed in one offseason, but a lot can get done. The first part of the offseason is to remove players from the 40man for prospects that need to be added. I would start by releasing/non-tendering Josh Staumont, Josh Taylor, Taylor Clarke, and Edward Olivares. These four have no trade value and are ineffective or injured. I would offer the pitchers minor league deals with an invite to ST. With these four open spots on the roster, I would add Will Klein, Christian Chamberlain, Tyler Tolbert, and Tyler Gentry to protect them from the Rule V draft.

Next up, free agency and trades. To make this a competitive team, the Royals need to have two top starting pitchers and one to two everyday stars to build around. The Royals have Cole Ragans and Bobby Witt Jr. so they need to find a way to acquire a top tier pitcher and find out if Vinny is the second star position player. They can’t sign Ohtani. I prefer not to sign Nola, Gray, or Snell as they got the QO and would make us forfeit our second-round pick which will be a top 50 selection. So that leaves signing Yamamoto or Jordan Montgomery or making a trade. I don’t think Yamamoto is an option, but Monty is. Before I drop a 5 to 6 year contract for $21m/year on Monty, I would see if the Brewers are ready to make some changes. They just lost their manager, and their co-ace Woodruff is out all next season and might be non-tendered. They have a lot of young players and are hopefully ready to trade Corbin Burnes.

Using the trade simulator at Baseball Trade Values I learned that the Royals don’t have a lot to offer in a trade. The values add up if the Royals trade Brady Singer and Nick Pratto for Burnes. I think 3 years of Singer and 5 of Pratto fit what the Brewers like to do with those positions, but I think they will want a couple of A ball throw-ins to make the trade look better to the fans. So I will add Ryan Ramsey LHP, and Roger Leyton OF to complete the deal.

The trade opened a spot on the 40-man roster so I will go sign an outfielder. I will pursue signing Jung Hoo Lee but will likely settle for signing Joey Gallo to play LF and backup at first base. Gallo’s strikeout rate is awful. If the hitting coaches can help him get it close to 35%, he will be quite productive. When he makes contact, his barrel %, hard hit %, and avg EV are the same as Matt Olsen and Yordan Alvarez. The problem is Gallo K% is twice as high as theirs. He is a project worth taking on considering the limited options to add a power bat to the lineup. He had his third year of struggles so I think we can sign him for one year and $6m. If he signs elsewhere, the backup plan is to sign Tommy Pham but the LH bat is preferrable.



Avg EV



Matt Olsen






Joey Gallo






Yordan Alvarez






Now back to the starting pitching and finding a closer. I would go and sign Erick Fedde to fill another rotation spot. He is a former first round pick and top prospect of the Nationals that got non-tendered last year and went to a performance and training center before signing to pitch in the KBO. His new set of pitches allowed him to dominate the KBO and win the KBO version of the Cy Young. I would sign him to a three-year $15m deal at an even $5m per season. To make room on the 40-man roster, I would designate Jon Heasley. Next, I would sign Aroldis Chapman to come back to the team and be the closer. I expect the pitching gurus to work on his high walk-rate. I think he would command a two-year contract at $7m per season. To make room for this signing on the 40-man, I will designate Logan Porter for assignment.

I would like to sign another starter and then another bullpen arm, but I have run out of budget. So, I will wait until early February to see who is still looking for a contract. These signings will be cheap and we can move Austin Cox and Kris Bubic to the 60 DL to make roster space.

With these moves, I expect the Royals to play good baseball and stay at .500. The AL Central should be weak and hopefully we can make a move in mid-summer to upgrade a position that is not performing well, plus we will be getting Kris Bubic back. I would also sign Corbin Burnes to an extension, giving him a similar contract to the 6/$140m deal that Patrick Corbin got and is still the 6th biggest SP contract in baseball. I would front load the deal so we can also sign Bobby and Ragans to extensions. Burnes will want to sign this as he will be getting a free agent type contract one year early and it is front loaded with cash. The years would breakdown as - $22m, $26m, $28m, $24m, $20m, $20m.

The Royals 40man roster would cost $95.5m.

Batting lineup

1 Garcia 3B

2 Witt Jr SS

3 Pasquantino 1B

4 Perez DH

5 Gallo LF

6 Velasquez RF

7 MJM/Fermin C

8 Massey/Taylor 2B

9 Isbel/Blanco CF

I would allow Salvy to catch once every 5 games and play an occasional first base, otherwise he is the regular DH. MJM proved to me last year that he is not an outfielder, so he is moved back to catcher and will compete with Fermin for playing time. He would also DH most days that Salvy is behind the plate. This is a make or break season for Massey and Samad Taylor. I want both to be given opportunities to prove that they are part of the future of this team. Loftin will also be on the roster and can play corner OF as well as all IF positions.

The starting pitching would be Burnes, Ragans, Fedde, Lyles, and a competition among any late signing plus Lynch, Marsh, Bowlan, and Zerpa. Zerpa is out of options and will stick in the pen as a long reliever. This is also the prove it year for Colin Snider and Kowar. Either show you can do the job or off the roster you go.

The bullpen has 5 spots taken and 4 spots open – clearly the weakest part of the roster. Chapman, McArthur, Brentz, Hernandez and Zerpa will be on the team and the rest will fight to make it.

Closer – Chapman

SU – McArthur and Brentz with McMillon competing for a spot

MR – Snider, Hernandez, Kowar, Cruz, Coleman, Veneziano, Chamberlain

LR – Zerpa, Bowlan, Klein, Castillio

With these moves the foundation of a Royals playoff contender is there. Depth is still needed everywhere as I stated in the opening. These changes hopefully convince Bobby, Vinny, and Cole to sign long-erm extensions with the club. Several questions will be answered during the 2024 season, paving the way to the final pieces getting acquired next offseason to make this team a division winner.

1 Can Fedde be the #3 starter behind Burnes and Ragans or do we need to find that pitcher next offseason?

2 How do Massey, Taylor and Loftin fit?

3 Will MJ become a legit big-league catcher with power?

4 Who steps up in the bullpen?

5 Can Garcia become the leadoff hitter a top 10 offense needs or is that another need to fill later on?

6 Who is the future center fielder?

7 The Omaha outfield will be Tyler Gentry in LF, Tyler Tolbert in CF, and Drew Waters in RF. Which one of these players will become a major league starter? Who is a part-time major leaguer and who is a AAAA player?

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.