The Kansas City Royals still have some games to play, but unless a miracle happens — which has happened before for the Royals — their season is over.
As it sits, the Royals’ record is 73-77. The team is four and one half games back of the Minnesota Twins for the second wild card spot behind the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels.
With the Royals’ season essentially over, it is time to take a look at what this year was and what will certainly be a long and suspenseful offseason for Royals fans.
Before stretching was done, and before any baseball was thrown or hit, the Royals were thrown a curveball that nobody ever saw coming: the passing of Yordano Ventura.
Nobody knows what kind of season Ventura would have had. Maybe he would have been inconsistent at times, like in the past. Maybe he would have finally started to develop into the ace that he was hoped to be. With the inconsistency the Royals got out of their fifth starter’s spot for a majority of the year, it is safe to say the ball club could have used Ventura’s arm.
The start of the season was not necessarily ideal for the Royals. The team got swept four games to none by St. Louis to start the year. Thirty games in, and the Royals were 10-20, which included a nine-game losing streak at one point.
Battling back, the Royals got hot. Eventually the Royals won six straight, which resulted in winning 11 out of 13 games. Just like that, Kansas City was over .500 and back in the thick of things.
Later on in the season, the Royals found themselves struggling, falling two games below .500. Naturally, the Royals won nine straight and were back in the driver’s seat.
That was followed by some so-so baseball, which was followed by some cold baseball. Ice cold, at that. The Royals went 45 innings without scoring a run. Not a single run in an equivalent of five straight games. There was still time to make a comeback in the standings at that point, but even the most die-hard fans knew the end result.
This upcoming offseason might seem like an eternity to some fans. The Royals face the possibility of losing its core: Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain are all set to become free agents. Maybe the Royals can keep one of them, and they are lucky, two. The odds the Royals can keep all three? Slim to none, but Slim just left town.
The Yankees will think Hosmer will look good in pinstripes. The Red Sox will think “Moose” will fare well with the short porch in right field at Fenway. Any team needing an athletic center fielder who can hit will be giving Cain a call. The Royals will not be able to outspend a lot of teams, so it will have to rely on the hope that they will take less money to stay in a place where they have built so much.
Those are not the only faces the Royals might lose. Newly acquired players like Melky Cabrera and Trevor Cahill are set to hit the market. So are all-star Jason Vargas, Alcides Escobar and Peter Moylan. But worry not, Alex Gordon and Ian Kennedy are set to make a combined $36 million between the two of them next year.
There is room for hope though. Maybe Gordon will figure things out in the offseason at the plate. Maybe Raul Mondesi will move back over to shortstop and become a star like he is supposed to be. Hopefully Whit Merrifield continues to grow into an all-star second baseman. And you never know, maybe Hosmer, Moustakas and Cain all come back. Regardless, this league is a business, and they will do what is best for them.
Until then Royals fans can only do what they did during the 30-year drought between World Series victories. Hope.