With the core of their lineup set in stone for both the near and apparent future, the Kansas City Royals went into this offseason trying to upgrade their pitching and also build depth in the lineup. So far the Royals have traded for Jonathan Sanchez and picked up Jonathan Broxton in free agency, yet the Royals have been quiet on the offensive side.
I knew the Royals needed an infielder to play the left side of the diamond and for awhile I thought it was good timing for the team to bring Andres Blanco back to Kansas City. However thoughts have changed as I am now siding more and more each day with the Royals signing veteran shortstop Edgar Renteria.
Renteria's age first put me off as the 16-year major league veteran turned 35 in August and definitely is on the back end of his career. However, the five-time All-Star brings along quite a resume which includes two gold gloves and seven years of post-season experience. That experience of playing in meaningful baseball games for much of his career is something that would mean a lot to the young players on this team.
Renteria fits a need as he is a right-handed bat and would be able to provide quality support to Alcides Escobar at short. Though he has never played third base in his career, it would be a viable experiment to see if Renteria could provide depth behind Mike Moustakas at third base as well. The throwing motion between short and third is similar enough that many veterans shortstops have been able to transition to third.
Maybe the top reason I'd like to sign Renteria is that you aren't having to pay Renteria the paychecks that he was earning even two or three years ago. Last season Renteria played for the Cincinnati Reds on a one-year contract for $2.07 million. If the Royals were able to sign Renteria on a one-year contract im the $2 million range, this becomes a no-brainer.
When I think of Renteria, I think it would fit much like the situation Kansas City was in a few years ago with Tony Graffanino. He spent parts of 2004-06 with the Royals. Graffanino started at times at all four infield spots for the Royals, doing so on yearly contracts that ranged between $1.1 and $2.05 annually. This was while he was age 32 through 34.
If you look at 2006, which was Graffanino's best overall season during his time in Kansas City, he hit .274/.345/.406 while Renteria was a .276/.332/.374 hitter as recently as 2010. Even last season, Renteria batted .304/.354/.429 against left handed pitching.
The numbers add up, as the veteran presence, combined with the splits against left-handed pitchers, and the anticipated salary in 2012 mean the Royals would be wise to take a long look at Edgar Renteria.