Some of us may still be celebrating the World Champion Kansas City Royals, and if you are one of those people there isn’t much reason to stop since the first day of spring training is only 83 days away.
As the saying goes, “Champions are made in the offseason,” and the Royals have some shuffling to do on their roster. The biggest story thus far is that of first base coach Rusty Kuntz, who will be returning for the 2016 season.
I’m kidding about that being the big story, but personally I feel like the team just wouldn’t be the same without Kuntz.
The hot topic for the Royals is if they will be able to hold on to the face of the franchise, left fielder Alex Gordon. It will cost a considerable amount to keep the hometown favorite in Kansas City.
The latest reports have the San Francisco Giants on Gordon’s trail. According to ESPN’s Pedro Gomez, the Royals won’t be able to match the Giants’ price tag.
That doesn’t mean the Royals aren’t going to try. General Manager Dayton Moore is hoping save a few dollars by having Jarrod Dyson fill one of the corner outfield holes. While Dyson’s hitting doesn’t compare to Gordon, he’s got speed and the ability to play any of the three outfield positions. He’s also good at stealing bases.
“I think he’s capable of stealing 50-plus bases a year and scoring a bunch of runs,” Moore said to the Kansas City Star. “When he’s on base, we score runs.”
On Wednesday, second basemen Ben Zobrist signed a four-year, $56 million deal with the Chicago Cubs. Zobrist flourished with the Royals, hitting .284 with seven home runs and 23 RBIs. He’s a tough player to see go, especially considering he named his daughter (born five days after the Royals won the World Series) Blaise Royal Zobrist.
So that leaves us with Omar Infante at second base, who is owed $17.75 million through 2017. Things could be worse … just look for Christian Colon to get more playing time next season.
The Royals also have Raul Mondesi tucked away for use in the second base position. Mondesi signed with the Royals back in 2011 when he was just 16 years old. Last season he was with Class AA Northwest Arkansas before being added to the World Series roster. With Northwest Arkansas, Mondesi hit six home runs and stole 19 bases, batting .243.
For pitching, Joakim Soria will return to Kansas City and look to keep the bullpen solid after signing a three-year agreement for $25 million. Soria was with the Royals from 2007-11 and is a decent replacement for Ryan Madson, who just signed a three-year $22 million contract with Oakland.
In the starting pitching role, Chris Young will be back, signing a two-year contract for $11.5 million. Young was decent last year, serving as both a starter and a reliever with a 3.06 ERA. Look for Young to start in 2016, and look for the Royals to continue the search for another starter.
To recap, the Royals are still shopping for a corner outfielder, another starting pitcher and the return of Alex Gordon. Kaufman Stadium will come to life just 116 days from now as the Royals welcome the Mets for their home opener. The journey to another Blue October is already well underway.