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Predicting the Royals Off-Season Maneuvers

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It was a harsh season, this 2010. Royals fans everywhere sat through yet another season of poorly played baseball on nearly all aspects of the game. So of course, fans are looking forward to any signs of life to help at the major league level. Much help is predicted in a system recently compared to the stocked level of the Tampa Bays Rays in the middle of this decade. That's a system that propelled the Rays to World Series contender amidst big spenders like Boston and New York.

But some help is also needed from fellow major leaguers, as the minor league guys will need time to adjust and not all of them will pan out. Nearly every position around the diamond is in need of help and some positions are embarrassingly weak. So what should fans expect?

Baseball Prospectus recently ran a feature detailing their end of season look at the Royals. Within the column, they stated the following:

Zack Greinke knew exactly what he was doing in August when he expressed his doubts about the speed of the Royals' youth-based rebuilding plan. The franchise pitcher is under contract only through 2012 and wants some improvement right away. The Royals need to make some sort of splash to keep Greinke and the fan base happy, and it can't hurt to add some offensive pop to a lineup that ranks 27th in home runs. Why not overpay a little for Adam Dunn and make him a full-time DH? The Royals were very interested in outfielder Jeff Francoeur before he landed in Texas, and one late-season report speculates that he is headed to Kansas City in 2011—the Dayton Moore connection lives on. Catcher Jason Kendall won't be back until early next season, so a free-agent signing such as Bengie Molina could be a stopgap measure.

Some of this makes good sense and should be heeded by the front office. Adding a powerful slugger like Dunn would give the Royals the power threat we've been talking about all season. Billy Butler and even David DeJesus, if he's still around, would look much better with a guy like Dunn behind him in the line-up, providing a bottom line the pitcher must respect. And while sluggers like Mike Moustakas are on the way, we've seen the struggles that guys like Pedro Alvarez go through at the top level.

However, the Bengie Molina fodder is just that -- a rumor to discuss. The Royals spent big (at least in relative terms) for Kendall for two seasons and the team won't add yet another veteran catcher for several more million. The team has made it clear they value Kendall (apparently for his intangibles) and Molina would quickly become yet another DH candidate after Kendall returns. More likely, they will look at in-house replacements to handle the catching duties until Kendall returns.

The Jeff Francoeur rumors are right on and with the Dayton Moore connection, it's likely that Kansas City is his final destination this off-season. This is frustrating since the move would be on part with other major league blunders like the acquisition of Mike Jacobs and the failure to give Alex Gordon consistent playing time. Somehow Moore remains enamored with replacement level hitters who slug the occasional homer (and nothing else).

Overall, the Royals will add a couple of bats and back-end rotation guys this off-season. We will discuss these things more in-depth as things move along with free agency, but at the very least, the rumors from Baseball Prospectus deserved a bit of a deeper look.