The Royals made some move this offseason that were more long-term decisions. I think Kansas City’s front office is looking to the future instead of trying to build a contender this year. They have contracts coming up and they need to make some trades or see them walk after this season with just draft pick compensation.
The Royals did make a few short-term motivated deals too, but those were made out of an immediate need following the death of Yordano Ventura. Their starting rotation is a bit of a patchwork job, but it will need to get them through the season.
Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain are all in the last year of their contracts. Will any stay in Kansas City the entire season or will the Royals move them all in deals?
Here is the 2017 MLB season preview for the Kansas City Royals.
2016 Win/Loss Record: 81-81
Key Additions: OF Jorge Soler, SP Jason Hammel, OF Brandon Moss, SP Nathan Karns, SP Travis Wood, OF Peter O’Brien, RP Seth Maness, RP Bobby Parnell, RP Al Alburquerque, 3B Garin Cecchini, RP Brandon League, C Brayan Pena, SP Jonathan Sanchez & RP Chris Withrow
Key Losses: SP Yordano Ventura, RP Wade Davis, SP Edinson Volquez, DH Kendrys Morales, OF Jarrod Dyson, SP Dillon Gee, SP Chien-Ming Wang & RP Brooks Pounders
Interleague Schedule: NL West
Projected Starters: Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer, Whit Merrifield, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, Jorge Soler & Brandon Moss
Projected Starting Rotation: Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, Jason Vargas, Jason Hammel & Nathan Karns
Closer: Kelvin Herrera
Fantasy Sleeper: OF Alex Gordon – Gordon is a three-time All Star, but had a bad year in 2016. It was more of a continuation from how poor he hit after the 2015 All Star break. His slugging percentage dropped by 50 points last year. A lot of that comes from his lack of doubles. He hit 51 doubles in 2012, but only 16 last season. Most of the blame for his drop in both average and slugging was due to a wrist injury, which can be crippling for a hitter. Gordon is optimistic this year and I think he could be a steal late in the draft.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: 3B Hunter Dozier – It’s no secret that the Royals are looking to trade some guys for prospects. Mike Moustakas is one of the guys you hear in trade rumors. He becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season. I don’t think the Royals will be able to keep him, so they want to get something for him instead of just letting him walk for a compensatory draft pick. Dozier is a guy that can fill-in at third base immediately and there isn’t much of a drop off. Dozier could even become a better overall player than Moustakas who struggled to find his footing in the Majors his first few years.
Team Analysis: The Royals are only a year removed from winning the World Series, but the front office is already showing signs of wanting to tear it all down and rebuild.
Kansas City still has a lot of young talent, but some of the players that took them to back-to-back World Series appearances like Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer are nearing the end of their deals and are expected to be offered more than the Royals could afford in the open market. Both guys will be the center of trade rumors all season. The Royals could just hold onto them in hopes of getting compensatory picks in next year’s draft or they could get some prospects in a trade.
The Royals were dealt a huge blow when Yordano Ventura died in a car accident this offseason. He was slated to be the ace of the rotation for the foreseeable future. The Royals also let Edinson Volquez walk this Winter. They did sign Jason Hammel and traded for Nathan Karns this offseason, but their starting rotation is not in the best shape. They also added Travis Wood who could has had success as a starter and as a middle reliever. He could step into the rotation if someone struggles.
I expect Kansas City to make some deals this season and retool their team. I don’t expect a full-blown rebuild, but a lot of the starters will be moved. This will be a lost season for the Royals and will finish in the middle of the pack in the AL Central.
2017 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 77 (Prediction: UNDER)
2017 Projected Win/Loss Record: 75-87 (3rd AL Central)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.