Each year, officials from the 30 Major League teams come together for the Winter Meetings to make deals via trades or free agent signings. Of course trades and free agent signings happen all year, but some important deals happen during the Winter Meetings. Some teams make a big splash, some teams just show up.
The Royals didn’t made a splash as of Wednesday night. They have two needs; starting pitching and a utility infielder. Starting pitching is more important to the Royals and there’s plenty of rumors about the starting pitchers the team has interest in via a trade or free agency.
The way it looks now, the Royals prefer to sign a starting pitcher via free agency. Zack Greinke is out of the question, but the Royals top target is Anibal Sanchez, who could be looking for a six-year deal at almost $100MM dollars. That’s way out of the Royals price range, but it’s more likely Sanchez will get a four-year deal and if the money is right, Sanchez might be a Royal. Sanchez isn’t an ace like Greinke, but he would bolster the Royals rotation.
Wednesday, the Royals made a two-year, $26MM offer to starter Ryan Dempster, but he’s looking for a three-year, $39MM deal and there are rumblings the Cubs, Brewers and Red Sox have interest in Dempster.
In other rumors, free agent starters the Royals are looking at are Shaun Marcum and Brandon McCarthy. Both starters had some health issues in the past, but could be intriguing choices if the price and years are right.
As for the trade route, there’s a few starters the Royals have interest in. The Wil Myers/John Lester trade rumors are cooling off, but the Royals still have interest in Rays starters James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson. For a while, there was talk of a Myers/R.A. Dickey trade, but the Royals quickly dismissed it. Yes, Dickey won the Cy Young Award this year and he’s a 20 game winner, but he’s 38 and Myers is 22. If Dickey was younger, it might be a better trade. Astros starter Bud Norris is another pitcher the Royals are looking at, who will be free agent in 2016. And the Royals have interest in Rangers starter Derek Holland, who’s a free agent in 2017.
Whatever the Royals decide, they’re not in a hurry to find the “right” starting pitcher. It could be after the Winter Meetings before the Royals make a deal.
The Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners have some interest in designated hitter Billy Butler, but there’s nothing concrete. Besides Felix Hernandez, the Mariners don’t have a Major League ready pitcher the Royals are looking for. Baltimore has some good pitching prospects and young Major League starters, but the Royals want a more established starter to lead the rotation in 2013.
There’s even talk the Royals are willing to trade Chris Getz and the St. Louis Cardinals might be interested in Getz as a utility infielder. Hey, aren’t the Royals looking for a utility infielder? Oh, wait, the Royals consider Getz a starting infielder.
With the flux of the Winter Meetings, this article might be invalid by the time it’s posted. As I write this, Twitter is buzzing about a potential Myers/Shields trade. Some Royals fans say yes, some say no, and some say heck no. Whatever happens, the Royals are getting a starting pitcher. Who that will be and when it happens is hard to say.