Lately, I have seen a lot of fans and experts griping about the Royals offseason moves, with just about everyone complaining about the free agent signings of Alex Rios and Kendrys Morales and many others criticizing the signing of Edinson Volquez.
When any of my favorite teams makes a move or signs a player, I usually feel excited or I don’t care. I posted some of my thoughts regarding the Rios and Morales signings here and after the Royals signed Volquez and then added Kris Medlen, my feelings turned to excitement for 2015. The Royals addressed all of their needs this offseason (except for adding a real power bat – but if the current roster plays near their career averages in 2015, power should not be as much of a problem as it was in 2014). Think about it:
- Morales replaces Billy Butler, and whether you were a Butler fan or not, maybe a change of scenery will help both players produce better in 2015. Nothing really changes at DH for KC.
- Rios replaces Nori Aoki. Aoki had a decent year when you consider his on-base percentage, but his power went AWOL (only hit one home run in 2014) and his defense was sometimes questionable. Rios should provide more power, about the same defense, and the same number of steals as Aoki. Hard to think this move will hurt the Royals.
- Volquez “replaces” James Shields. But not really. I imagine Yordano Ventura will be given every chance to become the Royals #1 starting pitcher, and Volquez or Jason Vargas compete for the #2 spot. Add in Danny Duffy (if he is healthy), and innings-eater Jeremy Guthrie and you have a pretty decent starting 5.
- Medlen, who is coming off his second Tommy John surgery, might be ready to pitch again in June or July, which could provide a huge boost and veteran presence if the Royals need to push for the playoffs. And he should be a great pitcher in 2016 if he is still healthy. Great pick up by Dayton Moore.
None of those moves seem bad to me. My only concern is that the rest of the Al Central will be a lot tougher. The Tigers added Yoenis Cespedes and extended Victor Martinez but lost Rick Porcello and might lose Max Scherzer. The White Sox added Melky Cabrera, Jeff Samardija, and Adam LaRoche, the Indians added Brandon Moss and Gavin Floyd, and the Twins signed Torii Hunter and Ervin Santana. 2015 will be a fun year for baseball but the Royals should be competitive.
In other news, the KC Royals announced a contest on twitter: tweet a holiday photo of Lorenzo Cain making his signature outfield catches for a chance to win a glove signed by him. Below are the ones I created. Merry Christmas to all you Royals fans!
|Lorenzo helping Santa pull his sleigh over KC, the same way he pulled the Royals through the playoffs|
|Lorenzo adding a Royals crown to the Christmas tree at Crown Center. Because no one else can reach that high|
|Lorenzo helping to add some lights to the Plaza. Alex Gordon would not have had any lights to turn on without Cain's help|
|Lorenzo putting up some Royals stockings on the Nelson Art Gallery. Shuttlecock curse? What shuttlecock curse?!|
|Lorenzo giving KC his best gift yet - Crown Town Ale.|
Have a great Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hannukah/Holiday season!