Greetings everyone, I need to start off with that I am not a prototypical Royals fan. I should mention that I am a St. Louis Cardinals fan first and a Royals fan second but that being said, I am a die hard for both teams. I grew up and lived in St. Louis for most of my life but I have lived here in Kansas City for the past three years. Living in Kansas City now, I have noticed an odd hatred that Royals fans have toward the Cardinals and St. Louis but in my eyes, I do not see why I cannot be a fan of both franchises. I am probably too young (24) to understand all the hatred but I digress. Hopefully I have not turned off readers but I think I need to be open and honest. I really want the Royals to get back to their glory days so I can see a Royals-Cardinals World Series someday, hopefully sooner than later.
With that out of the way, time to talk 2012 Kansas City Royals. Before he was traded to the Washington Nationals, I was pretty vocal about the Royals making a serious push for SP Gio Gonzalez. After what the Nationals gave up for Gio, I am relieved that my wish for a Kansas City push for him was just a fantasy and not reality. Washington gave up FOUR B-/B+ level prospects for him which was a big haul for an Oakland Athletics pitcher who Oakland has been known to sell high (curse you Mark Mulder!).
If you could not tell already, I believe the Royals are in desperate need of a frontline starting pitcher and now with Gio Gonzalez off the market, now what? The 2012 Royals rotation right now is made up of entire #3, 4, 5 starters but if Kansas City truly is serious about contending for the AL Central, which I believe is possible, they need to bring in a #1 or #2 level starter. Without one, I view this Royals club as a .500 team that could win 75-83 games but with an ace that win total gets closer toward 84-90 and a potential division title.
That level starting pitching is hard to acquire or luck into via trade or free agency but there are several options that the Royals should be looking into. My trade targets would be James Shields (Rays), Wandy Rodriguez (Astros), or Matt Garza (Cubs). I’m not sure if the Royals would be able to bring in any of these guys but they all fit the mold of one a top of the rotation starter and have been made available in the past. I am not sure what it would take to acquire one of them but I am very curious about what a reasonable offer would look like.
If Kansas City does not wish to make a trade for a starter, there are several free agents that have not been signed yet that would instantly make the Royals rotation much more respectable than it currently is. Roy Oswalt, Edwin Jackson, Paul Maholm, Scott Kazmir, and Brad Penny are all quality starters that would look great in Royals blue and are also looking for an opportunity to show that they are still top notch starters. I truly believe you could get any one of these free agents on a one year deal in the $6-12 million range. That might seem like a lot but if it works out then Dayton Moore looks like a genius and the Royals are contending for a division title. Worst case scenario is that the deal flops and you are not hurt to make a run at the many frontline starters who could be free agents next offseason. I really don’t see what the harm is to bring in one of the remaining starting pitchers. The AL Central is down this year it seems and the Royals need to take advantage of their window to contend which is starting to open up.
The Royals have a great, young offensive core that is ready to compete at the major league level but that will go to waste into another mediocre season if the rotation is not addressed with another starter or if they luck out and someone steps up into that ace pitcher that has been missing in Kansas City for quite some time. Hey Dayton Moore, this team is much improved from the 100 loss teams I have come to grow up with but please address the rotation because this AL Central is there for the taking (also, it is time to trade Billy Butler while his value is high and is only a DH but that is a separate article). Is it spring yet? Go Royals.