In honor of Leap Day, I thought I would leap back 4 years and take a look at the Kansas City Royals of 2012. Not to dredge up old, crappy memories, but rather to appreciate how far the team has come. I thought it might also be fun to leap 4 years into the future and predict what the 2020 Royals might be like.
Four years ago, the Royals were hot garbage. They finished the season 72-90, which was good for third place in the AL Central, and was only 16 games behind the Tigers. I say only 16 games because the Royals of the seasons prior to 2012 typically finished at least 20 games out of first place.
The 2012 season was notable for several things:
- The team started the season in their typical awful fashion, finishing the first month of the season with a 6-15 record. In those days, any hope for the season was usually lost on Opening Day. We now expect to go to the World Series every year. Suck it Father Time!
- The longest winning streak of the season was 4 games (which the team accomplished 4 times) and the longest losing streak was 12 games. Twelve stinking games!
- The Royals’ 2012 Opening Day pitcher was Bruce Chen. BRUCE CHEN! What the heck!
- Speaking of crappy Royals players, Jeff Francouer was the starting right fielder in 2012. Frenchy was a turd and that is all I have to say about him.
- Since 2012, the Royals’ starting player at first base, third base, short stop, left field and center field have been Hosmer, Moose, Escobar, Gordon and Cain, all of whom will (barring injury) make their 5th straight season-opening start at those positions this year (Salvy did not start opening day in 2012). That is some remarkable consistency!
- The Royals hosted the MLB All-Star game in 2012, which provided one of my most favorite baseball memories ever (read about it here). The All Star experience was notable for the fact that Home Run Derby Captain Robinson Cano, who had promised to select a Royals player for the derby, reneged on his offer even after Billy Butler was selected to attend the game and was promptly booed during his derby performance. Idiot. Don’t mess with Royals fans.
- The end of the 2012 will forever be remembered for the Wade Davis Trade in December, which used to be known as the Wil Myers Trade, and also known as What-The-Eff-Is-Dayton-Moore-Doing Trade. Two consecutive World Series appearances now mean that all Dayton Moore haters can go suck it.
Hard to believe those things happened only a short 4 years ago. Thinking about the Royals 4 years in the future is equally interesting. The Royals currently have 7 players on the roster signed through 2020, who are Christian Colon, Cheslor Cuthbert, Alex Gordon, Yordano Ventura, Terrance Gore, Paulo Orlando, and Brian Flynn, and they will likely still have some young players like Bubba Starling, Raul Mondesi, and Miguel Almonte. I can also see the team re-signing Lorenzo Cain and Salvy Perez through at least 2020, and Ian Kennedy might still be on the roster. Assuming that Starling, Almonte, Mondesi, Colon and Cuthbert are all in the MLB in 2020, the only holes to fill are at first base, starting pitcher and relief pitcher. Those holes could be filled with some current prospects like Kyle Zimmer, Ashe Russell and Nolan Watson. The 2020 team would still be young.
The Royals will likely have a new TV deal in 2020, which should allow them to afford higher-priced free agents. They might be able to sign someone like Manny Machado, Freddie Freeman or Nolan Arenado in 2020 to provide veteran leadership and a proven bat alongside Alex Gordon. If I was GM Dayton Moore, I would work to re-sign Wade Davis as it seems he could have a long career in the bullpen, similar to Mariano Rivera. I would guess that Ned Yost retires in 2-3 years, which would mean the 2020 Royals would have a new manager. My predicted 2020 Kansas City Royals Opening Day lineup:
Raul Mondesi, SS
Christian Colon, 2B
Lorenzo Cain, RF
Freddie Freeman, 1B
Michael Brantley, DH
Alex Gordon, LF
Sal Perez, C
Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B
Bubba Starling, CF
Yordano Ventura, SP
Fredi Gonzalez, Manager