Anne Rogers looks at what’s next for the Royals.
The Royals have already done a ton of work to improve, but it’s going to take a lot to turn around a team that won just 56 games last season. Even with the additions they’ve made, the Royals are still relying on internal improvement and health on both sides of the ball to be better in 2024. There are still probably some holes in the bullpen; the Royals have said they’ll give Smith the opportunity to close games, as well as Stratton, but if they can add one more reliable piece, it would help mitigate health, workload and other adversity bullpens face throughout the season.
Offensively, the Royals like what they’ve got with their infield starters and outfield mix, but the position-player depth on their 40-man roster is fairly thin (17 hitters compared with 23 pitchers). Of course, pitching depth comes into play more during the season, but Kansas City might look to add a lefty bench piece who can complement Hampson and play multiple positions.
Jaylon Thompson writes about how the new free agent additions will benefit from a strong defense.
“There’s no free passes here,” Wacha said. “We’re filling it up and letting the defense work behind you. I feel like that is the best way to keep the pace of the game going. It’s the best way to keep everybody on their toes. It’s the best way to get back in the dugout as quick as possible so the offense can get back to scoring some runs.”
Both pitchers will look to benefit from a spacious Kauffman Stadium. The outfield dimensions work to their advantage. It also gives outfielders, such as Renfroe, Kyle Isbel and MJ Melendez, opportunities to make plays behind them.
David Lesky at Inside the Crown looks forward to next off-season.
If you assume (rightfully or wrongfully) that the Royals will keep their foot on the gas, you’d think they’d still have another $20 million or so to spend to supplement. If all three players opt out and they only pay $25 million of the arbitration money, that number could be closer to $60 million.
The Royals have a chance to be able to play with the big boys next winter. And while you might think it’s a long shot, lower-revenue teams do this all the time. It’s a matter of being smart with it. Think about Cleveland adding Edwin Encarnacion a few years ago or the Rays relatively splurging for Zack Elfin. It also doesn’t hurt that they’ll theoretically have Perez and Lugo off the books after 2025, which is another $37 million if they wanted to backload a contract (or defer some money). Players will always need to be paid, so the money backfills pretty quickly, but the Royals have themselves in a very good situation money-wise.
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