Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE
The Kansas City Royals have anchored the front end of the rotation with two veterans who can eat up valuable innings.
Sometimes the things that are best for you aren't exactly what you want. Whether it's running errands, taking vitamins, working out or other such necessities in life, it's the daily, mundane tasks that sustain us despite our longing to do other, more exciting things with our time and/or energy in the moment.
The Kansas City Royals have taken such an approach this offseason with their starting rotation, choosing to add pitchers that fans weren't likely to place at the top of their wish list. However in doing so, the Royals have kept their prospects in house, can continue to develop for the long haul, while also addressing their primary need -- all in workmanlike fashion.
Not every team is going to go all-in with a major trade. There's no mega-deal for Josh Johnson and Mark Buerhle here for the Royals like the Toronto Blue Jays just pulled off last week. There's not even a smaller mega-deal like last year's hauls for Gio Gonzalez (Washington Nationals) and Mat Latos (Cincinnati Reds). Instead, there was a trade for Ervin Santana and now the new announcement that the team has signed free agent starter Jeremy Guthrie.
There's no flash here. R.A. Dickey is available. The Rays have several young pitchers, including potentially David Price, worth pursuing. That's not to mention free agent targets like Edwin Jackson among others. Instead the Royals knew they had to get starters who could eat up major innings -- who had dependable arms with possibility for decent success but without breaking the bank in money or prospects to get them.
That's exactly what Dayton Moore pulled off this offseason, for better or for worse. Ervin Santana comes over from the Angels with a no-hitter to his credit and some incredible seasons in recent years. He also comes with a price tag of $12 million, but it's a one-year deal and the Royals gave up a 27-year-old minor league reliever for him.
With Guthrie, the Royals saw him up close and personal, so if they re-signed him, you know they were pleased with not only the 3.16 he enjoyed with the team in a half-season but also the long-term ability he brings to the team. The $8 million average he carries through the three-year deal is a good deal for the team given what he brings, and despite the nasty stats from his stint in Colorado, he's likely to yield good results.
For the Royals, that's what they needed most. Of course, it would help to add the ace that can win every fifth day. But those cost a fortune and not every team can make a deal for such a player. The Royals aren't dealing from any position of luxury -- to trade a position player like Eric Hosmer or Mike Moustakas would only create a potential hole elsewhere. While the Royals might be able to get by with another player at one of those positions, Dayton Moore is apparently trying to keep those positions as a strength while also supplementing the rotation.
Some will say this is not enough, and perhaps there are more moves to come. But it would not surprise anyone to see both pitchers eating up 350+ innings and give the Royals a dependable rotation for the first time in years. As injured players return, younger arms develop and further moves are made, the Royals could even have a league-average rotation. Given the ability of their pen and the potency of the line-up, that could be good enough for a playoff sleeper.