The Kansas City Royals, more than likely, still have a few minor moves to make before extending all of their offers to spring training. However, the minimal splash from the weak cannonball that the Royals landed in the free agent pool the offseason has subsided. It’s now to take a look at who came out of the kiddie pool as winners and/or losers.
The Royals entered the 2010 season with an overcrowded outfield. After the trades of Scott Podsednik, Jose Guillen, Rick Ankiel, and the beloved David DeJesus, the immediate need for the 2011 was to re-tool the outfield. The Royals were never believed to make a run at the two biggest names out there in Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford, but fans were still optimistic about the possibility of landing at least one impact player. Their optimism was rewarded with the likes of Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur, who combined to put up a line of .252 BA/.308 OBP/.369 SLG last season; not exactly world-beaters. The good thing is that the Royals have only committed $3.75M to these two players, so they turn about to be low-risk/high-reward moves.
2) Zack Greinke
In the end, Greinke got exactly what he wanted: out of Kansas City. While most players will give the cliché line when looking to get dealt of “The best scenario would be to stay here and win a championship in (fill in respective city here), but if that’s not possible, then I want to go to a place that can compete,” did you ever get the feeling that Greinke loved being in Kansas City? Here’s an even
better question, can you blame him? The Royals have done nothing to make this team competitive during Greinke’s tenure, which will wear on anyone, as it did on him. Fans could tell that he was not mentally devoted to this team last year, and it showed in his performance.
3) Dayton Moore
As much as fans are upset about the trade of Greinke, they will love the players that are coming in return. Alcides Escobar is a plus defender that will eventually become a decent enough hitter to anchor the lead-off spot for the Royals. Lorenzo Cain was a regular on ESPN’s Top Ten after his call-up last season. His stellar defensive abilities were put on display on a daily basis, but his offensive numbers were impressive as well. While he may not be a consistent power hitter, he will definitely frequent the gaps, which will play right into one of his greatest strengths: his speed. Jake Odorizzi is a former first round pick, and also was the Brewers’ Minor League Pitcher of the year in 2009. Jeremy Jeffress is another former first round pick, whose fastball has been known to touch the triple digit mark. However, a history of substance abuse could come back and haunt Moore. All in all, the Royals received a great deal of talent in return for Greinke, a couple of players that will help the team now, and a couple of players who have the potential to make an impact for years to come. This may turn out to be the best move that Dayton Moore has made with the Royals.
4) Luke Hochevar
Now that Greinke has moved on to greener pastures, Hochevar arguably becomes the best pitcher in this rotation. There are a ton of expectations that come with being the first overall pick in the draft, and it’s safe to say that Hochevar has not lived up to the hype. So, this becomes a “make or break” year for the young pitcher. While the organization will obviously not give up on him if he has another mediocre campaign, he has a golden opportunity laid before him. He has the chance to win over the hearts of all Royals fans, and become the next Greinke. However, with how irritated this fan base is, he may only have this season to win them over. No pressure……
1) Zack Greinke
One thing that we’ve learned from the Zack Greinke ordeal is that if a player does not want to be in Kansas City anymore, then the fans don’t want that player here either. This town flipped on Greinke faster than anyone could have imagined. Fans have flooded the message boards and local radio stations to give their two cents about the wayward former Cy Young winner, and the majority of the retort has been extremely negative. Don’t expect to hear too many cheers from the Royals’ faithful the first time Milwaukee comes to town.
While in the long run, the Greinke trade may benefit this organization, the immediate impact has to irk Royals’ fans. This situation has become all too familiar for fans in this area: a young superstar that was developed and fine-tuned in the organization, only to be traded away in the (or before the) prime of their career. Fans of the Royals should be given all the credit in the world. Time after time, they grow to love the players in this organization only to see those same players donning a new jersey sooner rather than later.
3) Dayton Moore
Moore has been walking a fine line with the fans, and the Greinke trade may have just shifted him to the bad side of said line. Moore has put a lot of faith of the prospects within this organization, and also in the young players that he has received via multiple trades. Now, he needs these young guns to step in, and they better play well, or he will be run out of this town. Obviously, the chances of being competitive in 2011 are slim to none, but extreme progress needs to be shown during the 2012 season. If not, his tenure in Kansas City will be known as a complete waste of time and talent.
4) The Royals Farm system
The Royals have the most talented and deepest farm system in Major League Baseball. That’s not opinion. It’s a fact. However, has there ever been this much pressure put on kids who haven’t even played one major game in their careers? Mike Moustakas, Wil Myers, Eric Hosmer and company are expected to turn this franchise around and return glory to Kansas City. That’s a lot to ask, but what else are Royals’ fans to do? That’s what they have been told for the past few years. They have no choice but to put all of their faith in these highly touted prospects, and to be honest, what else do they have to look forward to? Let’s hope that those incredibly high expectations don’t wear on these young players before they even step foot in the batter’s box, which has happened before (*cough, Alex Gordon, cough*).