Tag Archive | "Royals Baseball"

Are These The Final Days Of Jeff Francoeur For The Kansas City Royals?

The Kansas City Royals are playing solid baseball and winning games, bringing them closer to the division leading Detroit Tigers.  The team is hitting well and is about to get a punch in the arm from rehabbing speedster Jarrod Dyson when he returns from his minor league rehab assignment.

Jarrod_Dyson

That leaves the Royals with a roster choice to make at the big league level and the choice may be simple: it’s time to release Jeff Francoeur.

Francoeur, known as “Frenchy” to many fans, has been a very likable and fan-friendly player in Kansas City.  The team has capitalized on his popularity with ticket specials, the “Frenchy Quarter” section in the ballpark, and many items bearing his name in the gift shops.  His popularity, however, has not transferred to solid play on the field.

He has been used sparingly in the month of June, yielding playing time to David Lough in right field.  Meanwhile, Lough has played well enough to deserve his spot on the big league roster, showing flashes of power and speed that may make him a solid option off the bench as the Royals enter a playoff run that has been a long time coming.

Dyson has not been a massive success during his rehab in Omaha, posting a paltry batting average just over .200.  He has, however, been getting on base, showing patience at the plate, and doing what he does best: running.  His place on the major league roster has always been speed off the bench, solid defense, and an occasional start.  A platoon situation in right field that features Lough sharing time with Dyson would be a huge upgrade from what Francoeur has provided the last few seasons.

The Royals are primed to make a run at a playoff spot this year.  To do so, they will need the best 25 men they can find to put on the field on an everyday basis.

When Dyson is activated, it will be time to say goodbye to Jeff Francoeur.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
You can follow him on Twitter by 
clicking here.

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Kansas City Royals – Contenders Or Pretenders?

As a baseball fan watching Kansas City suffer for years, I have to wonder if they are actually a good contender this season for the playoffs, or if this is just their 15 minutes of fame.

Kauffman Cover Photo

There is certainly something for Royals’ fans to get excited about right now. At this point in the year, Kansas City is 17-10, when last season at this time they were only 10-20. A dramatic difference. Pitching, in particular, seems to be carrying most of the team, but their offense is not far behind.

Royal Pitching

Veterans like Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie are having stellar seasons. They have combined for 7 Wins to date, both with having an ERA under 2.50 and WHIP just above 1.00. According to ESPN, while Santana is owned in 97% of fantasy leagues, Guthrie is only owned in 50%. Guthrie brings a commendable work ethic to the team and I think would be a valuable pick-up if he is still available in your league. The right-hander excels at mixing all of his pitches to keep hitters off balance, and he recently threw his first major league shut-out.

The Royals’ starting rotation has been rounded out with the new additions of Wade Davis and James Shields. While Davis is has been struggling since joining Kansas City with a 4.75 ERA, he hopefully can get back down to that 2.43 ERA he finished with in 2012. And Shields may soon become the ace of the team, filling the void that Zack Greinke left. Both Davis and Shields are 2-2 this season.

The Royals’ bullpen has been strengthened with former-starting-pitchers-now-relievers, Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar. Chen has not allowed an earned run yet this year in 5 appearances, and Hochevar has only given up 1 earned run in 7 appearances. Greg Holland is settling in nicely as a solid anchor for the bullpen. He has 7 saves so far this year and only 1 blown.

Royal Batting

Kansas City’s pitching has started off hot, but the fans are still waiting to see the promise the line-up showed during Spring Training this year. There are only three batters with an average above .300 right now, Jarrod Dyson is one of them and he only has 20 plate appearances so far.

The power is not quite there yet from their top hitters. It somehow got lost in the transition between Spring Training and the regular season. If this team can get their bats going and keep the pitching consistent, they can be a force for the entire summer.

Fantasy owners might want to watch players like Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, and Mike Moustakas. They have all been showing signs of improving in their last 15 games, and might just break out of their slumps soon. Moustakas is only 39% owned in fantasy leagues which is obviously due to his struggle at the plate. If he can start making solid contact again, he will prove he deserves a position on your fantasy roster.

Even though the Kansas City line-up is not producing the way they are capable of, they can still be tough to beat in the American League Central. But if history is any indication, this poor team does not have a chance. If someone were to walk into the baseball world right now and not know anything about the Royals’ past, they would never know that they are usually toward the bottom of the AL Central division.

First place Detroit Tigers better take notice that Kansas City is only a half game back. Can they keep this up? Is this just a flash in the pan? If the starting pitching can continue eating up innings, their bullpen will be able to stay fresh for the long season. And if their bats start producing, then I would say that the Royals can shed the pretender branding and will be a contender in 2013.

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Come To Play – The 2013 Royals

KANSAS CITY, MO (February 4, 2013) – The first pitch of 2013 is still a ways off, but the Kansas City Royals are stoking anticipation for the upcoming season with the announcement of their new advertising campaign and tagline, “Come to Play.”

KauffmanStadiumOutfield

Developed in partnership with Kansas City-based ad agency Walz Tetrick, the campaign spotlights the game experience with a “Come to Play” invitation for fans to come out to The K and soak in the excitement of seeing the Royals in person.

“Nothing beats going out to The K to be part of the Major League Baseball experience,” said WTA president Charlie Tetrick.  “With the offseason additions, this year’s team is a great combination of youth, experience and leadership.  Every pitch is an opportunity for something exciting and unexpected to happen.  When you add in the sights, sounds and smells of The K, it’s a unique experience that people throughout Royals territory treasure.  From the players and fans to the K Crew and Sluggerrr, ‘Come to Play’ is a rally cry that encompasses all of the excitement that is Royals baseball.”

The “Come to Play” campaign will be seen throughout Spring Training and regular season in TV and radio ads, outdoor boards, newspaper ads, online banners and other guerilla marketing opportunities that are now being planned.

Season tickets are currently on sale and available online at www.royals.com, by phone at 816-504-4040 or at the Kauffman Stadium Box Office.

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Royals And Fox Sports KC Announce Schedule

KANSAS CITY, MO (January 31, 2013) – The Kansas City Royals and FOX Sports Kansas City today announced a 142-game television schedule for the 2013 season, featuring two exhibition games and 140 regular season games.

FSKC

The Royals and FOX Sports Kansas City are entering the sixth season of a long-term agreement in which FOX Sports Kansas City is the exclusive television home of Royals baseball.  The 140-game regular season television schedule features 67 road games and 73 from Kauffman Stadium.  Every game on FOX Sports Kansas City will be preceded by a 30-minute pre-game show, “Hy-Vee Royals Live,” and followed by the “Boulevard Royals Live” post-game show.  All 140 regular season telecasts will be presented in High Definition.

FOX Sports Kansas City’s coverage of Royals baseball kicks off with a Spring Training telecast from Surprise, Ariz., on Monday, March 25, when the Royals host the Los Angeles Dodgers at 8:05 p.m. (CDT).  A second exhibition game will be broadcast on Wednesday, March 27, when Kansas City hosts the Chicago Cubs, also at 8:05 p.m. (CDT).

FSKC will air Kansas City’s Opening Day contest on April 1 at Chicago as well as the April 8 home opener vs. Minnesota.

Ryan Lefebvre will call 90 regular season games and one exhibition for Fox Sports Kansas City and Steve Physioc will provide the play-by-play on 50 games during the season and one exhibition.  Rex Hudler will return for his second season as the analyst and Royals’ Hall of Famer, Jeff Montgomery, will provide analysis throughout the season on Royals Live with host Joel Goldberg.

The complete season schedule with telecasts is listed on the attached schedule, which you can download by clicking here.  All game times and the TV schedule are subject to change.

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Jake Odorizzi Joins Royals

Jake Odorizzi Joins Royals

SPRINGDALE, AR – Right-handed pitcher, Jake Odorizzi, was brought up to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, September 16.  Odorizzi becomes the 32nd former Natural to make it to the major leagues.

Odorizzi spent the beginning of the 2011 season with Wilmington (A Advanced) and the latter part in Northwest Arkansas pitching a total of 147.0 innings.   He went 10-7 on the season and posted a 3.73 ERA in 27 starts.

The Illinois native has spent the beginning of the 2012 season with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals going 4-2 with a 3.32 ERA over seven starts.  Oddorizzi was transferred to Omaha (AAA) on May 17 and has surrendered 35 earned runs in 107.1 innings with Omaha.

Odorizzi went into the 2012 season rated as the fourth-best prospect in the Royals organization by Baseball America.

The 22-year-old was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers along with RHP Jeremy Jeffers, INF Alcides Escobar and OF Lorenzo Cain in exchange for RHP Zack Greinke and INF Yuniesky Betancourt, December 19, 2010.

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Are the 2012 Royals a bad team?

Are the 2012 Kansas City Royals a bad baseball team? This question that was asked frequently during the notorious twelve game losing streak. Because the losing streak happened so early in the season it is a legitimate question. I know the 2012 version of the Royals is not a good team. Good teams don’t go on twelve game losing streaks and have starting pitchers with ERAs above 7. However, does this Royals team have the potential to get near .500 like we anticipated in March? Or are we looking at another 100 loss season? There is only one place to find these answers: Baseball-Reference.

The Royals have had four 100 loss seasons in their history. Let’s see how the 2012 Royals would stack up if they were in a division with those four teams after 25 games:

Year W L GP GB
2002 8 17 25 -
2004 8 17 25 -
2012 8 17 25 -
2005 7 18 25 -1
2006 5 20 25 -3

As you can tell the 2012 Royals are in some bad company. You can tell me this team is more talented than those teams. You can tell me that their Pythagorean W-L shows a record of 10-15 and that the Royals have been “unlucky” so far this season. The team is playing better and has won 5 out of their last 8 since ending the losing streak. Including what I consider to be Mike Moustakas’ emergence as “player” on the major league level. Yes, injuries have been a major problem and I expect this team will play a lot better when Lorenzo Cain, Salvador Perez, and Felipe Paulino return from the disabled list. However, other major league teams have injury issues too. Even the 2005 Royals had a stretch from May 31st to Jun 16th where they won 11 of 15, including a 3 game sweep of the Yankees at Kauffman Stadium. I remember that sweep well; it was the highlight of that season.

The reality is this team has real pitching problems. It’s not like we didn’t know pitching could be an issue. It became apparent early last season that the pitching at the major league level and in the minors was not going to be enough open a “playoff” window anytime soon. It is such a major story line for me I wrote about it four times last season: here, here, here and here.

If the Royals are ever going to contend be a mediocre team instead of terrible they will need to add pitching. Danny Duffy has made some strides this season at becoming an ace pitcher this team needs. However, Duffy is just one pitcher. Felipe Paulino has shown some promise but a long way from a sure bet. I don’t see Bruce Chen or Luke Hochevar as long term solutions.

It’s frustrating that six years after Dayton Moore said “pitching is the currency of baseball” not much has improved among the starting rotation. There needs to be more pitching. Pitching is expensive whether you trade for it, or pay for it. The problem is, Even if ownership approves such a costly move, which is up for debate in the first place. I don’t have confidence in this front office to execute such a deal. Dayton Moore has been flat out schooled in trades at the major league level.

That is why I’m leaning toward this version of the Royals being a bad team. The glaring holes in the roster configuration have not been fixed from last year. Not to mention this team seems to lose focus a lot more than last year. I think the likelihood that this is another 100 loss season is greater than the Royals turning it around and getting near .500. The next question is, can the front office get enough pitching before it’s time for this young nucleus to chase their free agent contracts?

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The Royals are playing better, but they still need to improve

Despite a 7-16 record and a recent 12 game losing streak, the Kansas City Royals went 4-3 on their last road trip and are only five games out of first place in the American League Central. And in six of their 16 losses, they only lost by one run. If the Royals went 6-6 instead of 0-12 during their losing streak, they would be 13-10 and leading the A.L. Central. Fans would be talking about how awesome the Royals are instead of how much they stink. The 2012 season has its share of disappointments, but at least the Royals are playing better baseball.

There’s still room for improvement and winning some games at home would be nice. If the 2012 Royals don’t want to turn into the Royals of years gone by, they need to address these issues.

The Royals get a lot of hits, but they don’t score a lot of runs: The Royals as a team are 6th in the American League with 191 hits, 2nd in the A.L. with 49 doubles and 5th in the league with four triples. That’s good. But the Royals are 10th in the league with 20 home runs and 12th in the league with 83 runs. Yes, hits are good, but if you’re not driving in runs, hits only improve a player’s batting average. And speaking of team batting average, the Royals are 5th in the league with a .263 average. Not bad, but hits doesn’t win games, scoring runs win games. But I’m sure the Royals already know that. I think.

Eric Hosmer has a .183 batting average: It’s frustrating when your potential superstar player plays every game and makes Mario Mendoza‘s batting average look good. Hosmer has 17 hits, which is the least among everyday players. Along with Billy Butler, Hosmer does lead the team with five home runs and he’s 2nd on the team with 14 RBI, so at least he’s got the scoring runs thing down. Does his recent struggles mean Hosmer can’t hit? No way. Hosmer is making solid contact when he does hit the ball. The problem is he usually hits it to an opposing player. When Hosmer figures out how to hit ‘em where they ain’t, his and the Royals fortunes will improve.

Stolen bases are cool, but being caught stealing is not cool: The Royals are 4th in the A.L. with 14 stolen bases, but they’ve been caught stealing eight times, which is the most in the A.L. At least the Royals lead the league in something. I’m not sure if the batteries in first base coach Doug Sisson’s stopwatch need to be replaced, but if the Royals can’t run any better on the base paths, they need to stay put. There’s nothing wrong with making things happen, but making outs isn’t one of them.

Luke Hochevar and giving up a big inning: Here’s an interesting statistic. If you take away Hochevar’s seven run first inning against the Cleveland Indians and the five run first inning against the Detroit Tigers, Hochevar would have a 3.49 ERA instead of the 7.36 ERA he has now. Fans would be talking about Hochevar finally figuring it out. Instead, fans see the same old Hochevar: He has a tendency to give up a lot of runs in an inning and then pitches lights out in the other innings. It’s Hochevar’s inconsistency that’s frustrated Royals fans since he’s been with the team. The good news is Hochevar hasn’t given up any home runs, but there’s always his next start.

Key players are hurt and aren’t returning soon: Center fielder Lorenzo Cain was supposed to join the Royals last week, but a strained hip flexor during his rehab assignment has set his return back a few weeks. Meanwhile, the Royals called up Jarrod Dyson from AAA Omaha and he’s the starting center fielder.

Catcher Salvador Perez is tentatively set to return around the All-Star break and his recovery is going well, according to the Royals. Brayan Pena and Humberto Quintero are doing a serviceable job, but fans have to wonder where the team would be if Perez wasn’t injured.

With the bullpen’s inconsistent performance, the season ending loss of Joakim Soria is being felt. The Royals have shuffled several relievers between Kansas City and Omaha, trying to improve the bullpen. Fun fact: since the Royals called up reliever and Kansas City native Tommy Hottovy, the Royals have gone 4-3. Maybe if the Royals broke camp with Hottovy, they wouldn’t be 7-16. Probably not, but who knows.

The good news is starter Felipe Paulino is back with the Royals and is expected to start this Saturday’s game against the New York Yankees. And next week, reliever Greg Holland is expected to go on a minor-league rehab assignment with AA Northwest Arkansas after recovering from a left rib stress reaction. Both players need to return to their 2011 form if the Royals hope to improve.

The team is playing better and they’re not out of it yet. But the Royals have a challenging stretch of games ahead of them, including a seven game home stand against the always tough Yankees and the resurgent Boston Red Sox. And it doesn’t get any better, with games against the Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles, teams who are playing well. If the Royals want to get out of the hole they dug themselves into, they need to address these issues and get their key players back.

 

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2012 Royals Broadcast Breakdown

On Friday the Royals made their speculated radio and television broadcast moves official with this press release. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, being the Royals beat reporter, followed up with this story. These moves in the broadcast booth have received a little more attention than normal because of the firing of Frank White.

I don’t think they’re getting enough attention. From an entertainment standpoint the talent on the broadcast team is almost as important as the talent on the field. Even if you have a full-season ticket package the majority of your baseball consumption will be through a teams “Voices”. When a season is 162 games long you will see and listen to the broadcast team; television and radio, more than some of you talk to your parents. They are a part of your family. I’ve listened to enough Royals baseball games what the first time I hear Denny Matthews voice in the spring, the temperature automatically raises to 90 degrees regardless of the actual weather. From my childhood I remember Denny graveling out the play-by-play on hot and humid evenings. Denny Matthews’ voice is as much a sound of summer in Royals Nation as tornado sirens and the long buzzing of cicadas.

A few weeks ago I touched on this situation. I think we can all agree that firing Frank White was a bad public relations move. From hearing Frank White speak in radio interviews I’m not sure he’d go back even if the Royals wanted to kiss and make up. This probably means Frank White isn’t coming back. Because of that I guess we as Royals fans will have to adjust to our “new normal”

Here is what jumps out at me from reading the available public information:

Rex Hudler, Analyst, 120 TV games: As I mentioned a few weeks ago Rex Hudler is a cheerleader. I would be shocked if he ever said anything critical of the Royals on the field or off. Maybe that’s what the Royals front office wants? If you’ve played MLB The Show video game for any length of time you know what you’re in for. I think I’ll think he’s funny for the first week of the season. After that I’ll be looking for twitter handle @FakeRexHudler to get me through the season. As of this writing that account does not exist. Some one who is funny please make that happen. It’s your chance to become legend.

Jeff Montgomery, Analyst, 20 TV games: Montgomery has filled in as the analyst before. He’s capable, professional, and has ties to the city and organization. He has that going for him. He usually drops a bit of pitching knowledge on me. Which makes me wonder: Is he not the first string analyst by his own choice?

Steve Physioc, Play-by-Play, 50 TV, 112 Radio: This came out of nowhere. I knew Physioc was a Kansas City native before this was announced. I have always enjoyed his calls, mostly of Pac 10 (It was the Pac 10 then) College Football. I have not heard all that much of him calling baseball. He has a deep, booming, professional voice. I think I’ll enjoy having him as part of the broadcast team.

Ryan Lefebvre, 90 Play-by-Play TV, 72 Radio: There were a few weeks in December that I thought Ryan Lefebvre would be heading back to the Twins organization. That’s his home, and it’s not uncommon for people to return home given the right opportunity. From reading the articles Ryan wanted more of a radio role. Which is good, I think he’s better on the radio side. Nothing unique stands out to me in his broadcasts. However, I know what I’m going to get, he’s a familiar voice, and most of all he works really well with…

The Voice of the Royals, Denny Matthews, 110 Radio: 110 games seems like a reduced roll for Denny. I could be wrong, I didn’t take the time to look it up. Either way he deserves to keep his job and get some time off through out the season. Out of all the broadcast teams we see/hear with the Royals I enjoy Denny and Ryan together on the radio the most. They seem to have a good chemistry and I enjoy their dry sense of humor, probably because I have a dry sense of humor.

You’ll notice I have not talked about Bob Davis. According to the articles his roll will be reduced to pre and post game duties, and fill in when needed. To KU Fans Bob Davis is legend. However, I did not enjoy him calling baseball. He often left out key information like whether a batted ball was a line drive, a fly ball, or even which outfielder was coming in to make the catch. This will never come out in public. When Bob was calling games with Denny the chemistry seemed strained as there was no banter between the two creating a that dreaded awkward silence. Bob Davis having a reduced roll is a good thing.

Other Notes: The total television broadcast package with FS Kansas City is 140 games. I touched on this last September when I noticed that the Royals were abandoning any day they had to compete with College or NFL Football. It is the same this September. That’s one thing when you’re confident that September games will not mean anything. However, September games may mean something this year. I hope there is contract frame work to add games should the Royals be in contention. It would be very Royals of the Royals to not televise games in a divisional chase.

FS Kansas City will televise two Spring Training Games. Friday March 30th against the White Sox in Surprise. 8pm local start. Tuesday April 3rd against the Padres from Petco, 9pm local start. Note the Cardinals and Marlins open the regular season the next evening. My only complaint, can they braodcast a game earlier in Spring Training? By the time these games are televised all the prospects will be sent to minor league camps and most of the depth chart battles will be decided. I know advertising dollars is what drives these types of things, but I’m a lot more likely to watch an early Spring Training game than a later one…Who am I kidding? I’d watch baseball whenever it was on. However, it’s disapointing that once again if I want to watch the Royals in Spring Training I’ll have to do it on another teams network. Because you know, other teams get on TV more than twice during Spring Training.

Once I get passed how the Royals fumbled the Frank White situation I can see that they did improve the broadcast team. At least I think they did. I know I offered criticism of Rex Hudler earlier but something to consider. Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler worked together in the Angles booth for 11 years. That is a long time, and it’s a really long time in the broadcast industry. They must do their jobs pretty well to last that long. There is less Bob Davis and Denny Matthews, and more Ryan Lefebvre and Denny Matthews. That is a good thing. All I know is, just writing and thinking about baseball on television and radio makes it seem like that snow outside is melting faster.

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Royals And Fox Sports Announce Schedule And Announcers

KANSAS CITY, MO (February 10, 2012) – The Kansas City Royals and FOX Sports Kansas City today announced a 142-game television schedule for the 2012 season, featuring two exhibition games and 140 regular season games.

The Royals and FOX Sports Kansas City are entering the fifth season of a long-term agreement in which FOX Sports Kansas City is the exclusive television home of Royals baseball.  The 140-game regular season television schedule features 66 road games and 74 from Kauffman Stadium.  Every game on FOX Sports Kansas City will be preceded by a 30-minute pre-game show, “Hy-Vee Royals Live,” and followed by the “Boulevard Royals Live” post-game show.  All 140 regular season telecasts will be presented in High Definition.

In the booth, Ryan Lefebvre returns for his fifth season as the play-by-play voice of the Royals on FOX Sports Kansas City and he will be joined in 2012 by former major leaguer Rex Hudler as the analyst.  Also joining the Royals’ broadcast booth this year is play-by-play announcer and Kansas State University alum, Steve Physioc.  Both Physioc and Hudler worked together in the television booth of the Angels for 11 seasons.  Lefebvre and Physioc have each agreed to multi-year contracts, with Ryan slated for 90 regular season telecasts while Steve provides the call on 50 games.

“During the winter months, Ryan relayed to us a desire to expand his responsibilities and have a larger presence in the radio booth, thus bringing in a strong veteran announcer like Steve Physioc enabled us to give Ryan that flexibility,” said Mike Swanson, Royals Vice President of Communications and Broadcasting.  “The addition of Steve brings a familiar voice back home to the Midwest and affords us the luxury of having both he and Ryan on radio and television throughout the season.  As for the addition of Rex, he was a ‘run through a wall’ type of player and brings that same high-energy style to the broadcast booth.  His enthusiasm for the game of baseball is infectious and it translates very well on the air.”

“This is a great day for our broadcast team,” said Lefebvre.  “For me professionally, I get to work with two of the most enthusiastic and respected men in our business, and personally, I’m grateful the Royals have allowed me to return to the Royals radio booth in a larger role.”

FOX Sports Kansas City’s coverage of Royals baseball kicks off with a Spring Training telecast from Surprise, Ariz., on Friday, March 30, when the Royals host the Chicago White Sox at 8:05 p.m. (CDT).  A second exhibition game will be broadcast on Tuesday, April 3, when Kansas City visits the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park in a 9:05 p.m. (CDT) start.

FSKC will air Kansas City’s Opening Day contest on April 6 at the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

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Trade Suggestions For The Royals

The baseball winter meetings have concluded with a number of moves that significantly altered the landscape of baseball. While the Royals did not strike any deals, there are a few trades that would be interesting to see them explore in the coming months in an effort to help get them to the next level.

Photo Courtesy of Minda Haas

 

Proposed Trade #1: Royals trade Billy Butler and Jeremy Jeffress to the Rays for Jeff Niemann, Brandon Guyer, and Tim Beckham.

The Rays are looking for a right-handed bat to play at DH and first base, and Butler would be a perfect fit for them. He is young and talented, yet has a reasonable contract. Jeffress has the reputation of having a million dollar arm and a 10 cent head. Any sting from his departure could be absorbed by the deep Royal bullpen.

The right-handed Niemann has won at least 11 games in each of the past three seasons, and would provide sorely needed stability in the Royals rotation. Brandon Guyer, an outfielder, has a .297 career average in the minors, but has not yet been given an opportunity to play regularly in the majors. Beckham, the first overall selection in the 2008 draft started out his career in disappointing fashion, but has been building momentum the past couple of seasons, and could fit in nicely at shortstop for the Royals.

There could be concern that this trade would leave the Royals lineup too lefty-oriented, but the Red Sox had a potent offense this past year with six or more left-handed hitters regularly starting. Giving up a great bat like Butler would be a major loss, but a trade centered on a player of his caliber would bring a good return and could help restock their starting rotation.

Proposed Trade #2: Royals trade Greg Holland to the Blue Jays for Travis Snider.

The Blue Jays have been rumored to be hot after Holland, and improving their middle relief corps. A talented pitcher like Holland would be difficult to give up, but might be worth it if they could pry Snider away in the deal. Snider has had several unimpressive trials with Toronto, but will still be just 24 in 2012 and has a ton of talent. A change of scenery could be just what he needs.

The middle of the Royals’ infield could use some more punch after this past season, when Chris Getz and Alcides Escobar, their starting second baseman and shortstop combined for 4 home runs and 72 RBI in 1,027 at bats. Lowrie could be the answer. His game is all about versatility; from his ability to play any position in the infield, to his switch hitting. Although he has struggled with injuries in the past, he would be worth taking a chance, and could likely be pried away for Jeffress, who would be coveted by Boston in their effort to restock their bullpen.

Because of their need to operate with a set budget, the Royals have a slimmer margin of error when it comes to assembling their roster. However, they also have the assets to afford to entice a trading partner and take a gamble or two. Spring training is still two months away, so there is plenty of time for the Royals to evaluate and explore every angle, and determine if it is in their best interest to stand pat, or jump into the trade market.

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