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2011 Winter Meetings: What Lies Ahead For The Kansas City Royals

The Winter Meetings take place through Thursday in Dallas and the Kansas City Royals will be looking to get depth on the left side of the infield, while also keeping pace for a potential starting pitcher via trade.

In baseball terms, Monday is like Christmas for most baseball fans as the annual Winter Meetings begin. They commence in Dallas and will run through Thursday.

Though the Royals likely won't make as big of a splash this winter as they did last year with the Zack Greinke trade, Dayton Moore will certainly be examining all possible ways to improve the Royals this week. The Greinke trade actually didn't come until after the Winter Meetings, but the Royals were active in the Rule V Draft (Nathan Adcock), and also signed Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera.

The Royals figure to be on the lookout for starting pitching, after having already picked up Jonathan Sanchez in a trade. The free agent signing of Jonathan Broxton also further cemented the Royals thinking of trying Aaron Crow as a starter when the new season begins.

Mark Buehrle and Roy Oswalt are two front line starters that the Royals have at least put feelers out on, but I don't foresee either pitcher sporting a Royals uniform in the upcoming season. The budget involved to sign either would work against the Royals thinking as they try to wait for the progression of starting pitching to reach Kansas City from the minor leagues.

Unless the Royals somehow work out a trade during the week for a starting pitcher, the main goal of Moore will likely be trying to acquire depth at shortstop. That would be someone who can backup Alcides Escobar and also play third base as well. It can not be overlooked that Willie Harris played one season with Atlanta, and we know Moore's affinity for former Braves players, but Andres Blanco proves to be the best option out there as he is 27, a switch-hitter, and appeared  in 15 games for Texas at third base in 2010. The former Royal would be a welcome addition back to Kauffman Stadium. Blanco had left the Royals after 2007 via free agency when he signed with the Chicago Cubs.

In addition, the Rule V draft will be taking place this week in Dallas. Historically, the is where Kansas City find a reliever worth taking a flyer on. Obviously that worked with Joakim Soria, when they picked him up in 2006 from the San Diego Padres. Last year it seemed to work out with the selection of Adcock as the Royals are now afforded the privilege of sending him to the minor leagues after he spent all of 2011 in the Kansas City bullpen.

With the bullpen being one the strengths of the Royals come spring, they will likely take a position player this week should they choose one at all. Some possibilities for Kansas City include:

Rossmel Perez (Arizona Diamondbacks) Catcher

Salvador Perez will be the everyday backstop for the Royals, but the backup is still in questions. It could be Brayan Pena, Manuel Pina, or the Royals could look outside the house. Perez, 22, is defensive catcher who has just 46 errors in five minor league seasons. He also walks more than he strikes out, which would be a welcome addition the Royals. However with Salvador Perez being so young, the Royals will likely try to have a veteran behind him. With Rossmel Perez being from Venezuela, like Salvador, this could be a possibility.

Cale Iorg (Detroit Tigers) Shortstop

Should the Royals not be able to find a fit with a free agent shortstop, the Royals could potentially look at Cale Iorg to backup Escobar. Iorg won't provide you anything offensively, but is a good defensive player and can also play a little third base as well.

Jonathan Diaz (Toronto Blue Jays) Utility

Diaz is an interesting name, as he is a true utility player who can play all over the infield, and also shows good plate discipline, much like Perez. Through six minor league seasons, Diaz is a .228/.363/.296 hitter who has nearly as many walks as strikeouts. The 26 year old was a former 12th round draft choice of Toronto in 2006.

Clint Scoles of Pine Tar Press offers additional names for the Royals over at their website. It's always fun to speculate what this week may bring.