The Kansas City Royals had a lot to be proud of as they walked off the field last season. Regardless of the fact they didn’t win the World Series, they were a team that was projected to be close to making the playoffs, and in fact did make it to the World Series.
After a team has so much success, should they alter their lineup and bullpen to improve, or keep it relatively the same? Whatever the ‘true’ answer may be, I am a firm believer of not fixing something that isn’t broken, and apparently Mr. Moore agrees. Moore gave Yost an extension through the 2016 season, which was surely earned, and will allow Yost to coach without the pressure of being in the last year of his contract.
The Royals also didn’t adjust the most important piece to their team in my opinion: their big three.
Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland proved to be the most instrumental bullpen pieces to a team making its first World Series run in quite sometime. Royals fans know that without those three, their season could have been a lot different and perhaps not have even made it in the postseason, yet alone to the World Series. With that being said, much of the bullpen remains the same.
The Royals added starters Edinson Volquez and Kris Medlen, two additions that could dramatically improve the Royals pitching and take added pressure of their offense. Volquez is coming off a tremendous year with the Bucs and will be a solid 3-4 in the rotation. Medlen is obviously a gamble by the Royals as he is trying to bounce back from his second Tommy John surgery of his career. If Medlen was anything like he was when he was healthy with the Braves, American League central foes need be weary.
Additionally, they upgraded their offense by adding Alex Rios. Rios will replace Nori Aoki who signed with the Giants (oddly enough) as a free agent this offseason. Time will only tell if Aoki made the right choice by jumping ship. Rios has proven to be a much more productive hitter in the power category offensively and, in this writer’s opinion, a much better upgrade defensively. Everything else should remain the same as far as bringing Dyson in as a defensive replacement in late innings as well as a base stealer.
The largest question after the postseason ended last year was: Where will Shields land?
Many say he is still a fit for the Royals. As of now, he has yet to sign anywhere. After the additions of Volquez and Medlen, I disagree that Shields is still a fit within Kansas City. The Royals have always steered towards the middle-bottom of the pack when referencing team payrolls. There is no doubt James Shields would make any team he signed with better, regardless if it is as the team’s ace, or their fifth starter. “Big Game” James didn’t live up to his name during the 2014 postseason. He also comes with a big price tag. Although he did assist the Royals into the playoffs, I do not believe he is a necessity still within this organization. Look for Shields to sign with a larger market team like the Dodgers, Yankees, or even Padres if they can squeeze any more money out of their pockets.
Overall, the Royals offseason grade is a A-. They didn’t have many holes, as most teams that make the World Series usually do not. They knew they needed to address the offensive situation, in which they added Rios in the outfield. They also gave Kendrys Morales a change of scenery and he will serve as the designated hitter. The bullpen, which was essentially lights out, didn’t need to be altered. Yes, they lost James Shields, but I do feel their additions of Volquez and Medlen will prove to balance out the loss of him.