This current Royals season has been very hard to watch thus far, which makes the thought of playoff contention feel like a distant future to most Royals fans considering that they haven't made the playoffs since their 2015 World Series run (which is now almost 8 years ago), and they are currently in year 6 of a rebuild, technically year 1 under a new-(ish) front office, and this got me thinking what does the roster for the next Royals playoff team even look like? Will they still be playing at Kauffman Stadium? Or will they be playing in a brand new downtown stadium?
There are a lot of questions surrounding the long-term future of this team, and it all comes down to every single thing going right for the Royals as they press the reset button for the second time since their 2015 World Series run.
Finding a timeline
This will come off as just playing a guessing game, but we have to ask ourselves when is the next time that the Royals contend? It obviously won't be this year, It probably won't be next year, 2025 or 2026 seem very optimistic, 2027-2030 could be that timeframe if the current front office is able to make the right moves, these next several years.
What does the playoff core look like?
Now to the central point of discussion, what does the roster for the next Royals playoff team look like? Based on some of the players we have now, it could very well consist of Bobby Witt Jr., Vinnie Pasquantino, and MJ Melendez. There are of course a couple of interesting names down on the farm to watch like Maikel Garcia (who just got called up), Samad Taylor, Gavin Cross, Nick Loftin, Drew Waters, Ben Kudrna, and Cayden Wallace. Of course, more names will be added to the pipeline with the next couple of drafts down the line and it would be dependent on whether or not the new front office can hit on those draft picks.
The stadium question
Of course the other elephant in the room, that we have to consider is where the Royals would be playing whenever their next contending window opens. Royals owner John Sherman has discussed building a new stadium in downtown Kansas City for the past couple of years, and if we are to assume the Royals next contending window opens in the late 2020s, then there's a very possible chance that the Royals could be playing in their new downtown stadium, although Kauffman Stadium's lease doesn't expire until after the 2031 season, so they could also still be playing home games at the K.
If you want my opinion on the downtown stadium, I personally think they should go for a retro-classic style ballpark while also incorporating as many iconic elements from the K as possible (fountains, Crown Vision, etc.).
This essay was kind of an interesting thought exercise I had, and most of what I've written here is truly throwing darts at a wall, because it could really be a while before our next playoff berth, especially if you go look back at the Royals history throughout the 90s and 2000s, where there were several failed rebuilds, there was a 29-year drought between 1985 and 2014. So, but it would be great if the front office and new coaches can turn things around in a 4-5 year span, kinda like what the Orioles did between 2018 and 2023.