The Kansas City Royals came into the 2016 season with aspirations of building off their 2015 success and contending for the World Series again. However, inadequacies and injuries effectively worked against them, as they finished at 81-81.
Kansas City Royals 2016 Offseason Needs
General manager Dayton Moore made it abundantly clear that this offseason’s spending might be a little more restrained than the fans would prefer. The season definitely didn’t go as planned and left fans with a bad taste in their mouths. But if they want to contend next season, the Royals certainly have their work cut out for them. Let’s take a look at the potential offseason acquisitions Kansas City must make in order to rejuvenate their success.
No More Morales
Designated hitter hasn’t been a position of much concern the last couple of years. However, that changed when Kendrys Morales decided to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays. Having him back in the lineup would’ve been fantastic, but you can’t always get what you want. His departure raises the question of whether or not Kansas City reverts to a rotating DH scenario, which would be less than ideal.
Rumored options at designated hitter include Carlos Beltran and Edwin Encarnacion. As most Kansas City fans know, Beltran energized his career with the Royals. They were even rumors of him returning around the 2016 trade deadline. Encarnacion would be an excellent addition to the roster. Aside from his sheer power, he also can play first base, which could come in handy after the 2017 season, if Eric Hosmer leaves for free agency.
The Royals have most of their starting rotation in tact, with Danny Duffy leading the way. The other names in the rotation include Jason Vargas, Yordano Ventura, and Ian Kennedy. Assuming that Matt Strahm doesn’t nab the fifth spot, that leaves one position open. However, with the market for pitchers being quite sparse, the Royals most likely won’t spend money in free agency.
If they do decide to shop the free agent market, a realistic signing would be a guy like Brett Anderson. This would be a captivating name to pursue. Anderson has been great when he manages to stay healthy, but that’s a big “if” because he just can’t seem to do that.
In 2016, he only started in two games before being put on the disabled list. However, thanks to those injuries, Anderson will most likely be going after a much smaller deal. He definitely emulates the type of person the Royals have gone after the past few season. With a career ERA of 3.85, he may fit nicely into the Royals rotation.
Perplexity at Second Base
Second base has been a difficult position to fill for the last few years. Moore thought he had it all figured out when he signed Omar Infante to a four-year deal before the 2014 season. That turned out to be a huge bust because Infante didn’t even make it halfway through 2016.
Whit Merrifield did a fine job stepping into the role, but it’s not certain that he can be the guy moving forward. While it’s expected that Merrifield or maybe even Cheslor Cuthbert will safeguard second base, a few free agents could be nice veteran additions to a team that is looking to make it into the postseason.
It might not be pretty, but Chase Utley is a viable option for the Royals. Once one of the best second basemen in baseball, the 37-year-old has been a solid replacement player for the Los Angeles Dodgers the last two seasons. Two great selling points about Utley are that he provides leadership in the clubhouse and that he’s only looking for a one- or two-year deal.
A younger option could be the 29-year-old Daniel Descalso. He put up career-high numbers for the Colorado Rockies last year, hitting 264/.349/.424 in 99 games with a slugging percentage of .424%. While they look good, one must wonder if the altitude factored into those inflated numbers. Regardless, Descalso is an intriguing free agent.
The Royals certainly have a lot of work to do. The 2016 season may have been a disappointment plagued with inconsistency and injury, but if the Royals can make some proper acquisitions and stay healthy, contention in 2017 is guaranteed.