Saturday, February 2, 2013

2013 Kansas City Royals Preview from a Minnesota Twins fan

Let's take a look at the competish, shall we?  The Kansas City Royals have been the sexy team in each of the last couple off-seasons.  On the field, they have been anything but sexy.  They have some truly excellent players, including Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez.  They also haven't had a good team in quite some time.  I don't care if it is a trendy thing to do, I'm calling the Royals breakout in 2013.  I just feel it.  The good people of Kansas City deserve it.  George Brett deserves it!  The franchise had a busy off-season.  What does 2013 hold for the Kansas City Royals?

Let's find out!

Kansas City Royals 2012 - Actual W-L 72-90; Pythagorean W-L - 74-88

Free Agent Signings - Jeremy Guthrie (re-signed) 3 years, $25 Million

Trade Acquisitions - Ervin Santana, Wade Davis, James Shields

Key Losses - Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, Patrick Leonard, Joakim Soria, Jeremy Jeffress, Brayan Pena, Vin Mazzaro, Yuniesky Betancourt

Seriously?  Actual key losses -  Myers and the other prospects, depending on how they develop; Soria is great, but the bullpen is so stacked that he might not be needed

Addition by Subtraction - Betancourt, who was released back in August but it would not have been shocking to see him re-sign with the Royals, who can't seem to quit him.  Apparently he is great in the locker room.  Royals fans don't deserve to have to watch him every year.  Kansas City is a really nice place, I'm glad their fans got a break from Yuni.

Waiver Claims - George Kottaras, who will be an excellent backup catcher

Notable Minor League Deals - Max Ramirez, Ian Gac, Brandon Wood, Dan Wheeler, George Sherrill, Willy Taveras, Xavier Nady, Miguel Tejada, Chad Tracy, Endy Chavez, Atahualpa Severino

Other Moves - Luke Hochevar was brought back, which is probably contributing to higher blood pressure in Kansas City

Former Twin alert! - I can't find one.  How sad.  I'll keep you all posted if the Royals pick up any former Twins 

Bullet Dodged - Guthrie, who I am sure will be fine in Kansas City, but I am pleased the Twins did not give him a similar contract.


Any analysis of the Royals' 2012 off-season is legally required to start with an analysis of the Wil Myers/James Shields trade.  I know Royals fans were upset, and I understand why, but I like the trade for the Royals.  They picked up one legitimate starter (Shields) and one pitcher who can contribute in the bullpen, even if he can't pitch in the rotation (Davis).  Myers looks like a sure thing, but that can't be said for certain until he actually plays an MLB game.  While I think he will be a great hitter, the Royals are loaded with good hitting.  The rotation was a huge weakness and now it might not be.  Also, if Danny Duffy can come back strong, the rotation could become a long-term strength.

The lineup just looks really strong to me, even without Myers.  Eric Hosmer should bounce back.  Mike Moustakas is solid.  Billy Butler and Alex Gordon are great players.  Salvador Perez is a budding star.  Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain are young and promising.  This team has a chance to have a great lineup for the next 3 or 4 years.  When you consider that many of these players are great in the field as well, it adds up to a very promising lineup and defense.  I'm really starting to talk myself into this team.  They will be fun to watch, I just hope I get to watch them play meaningful games.  

Even if the starting rotation scuffles a bit, the bullpen is sitting there waiting to pick up the pieces.  By my count, and I am admittedly a bit of a Royals bullpen novice, there are 4 and maybe 5 good relievers in their bullpen.  Kelvin Herrera is nasty.  I love him.  Some say our age difference will be our undoing, but I'm not listening!  Others will want him to close, but I like him as a guy who can go 2 or so innings if needed.  I'd use Aaron Crow as the closer, but Greg Holland is good too.  Tim Collins is great from the left side, and no one seems to care anymore that he is short.  Felipe Paulino looked good in relief last year too.  Their bullpen is crazy talented.

Finally, the Royals win the award for signing the most minor league free agents that I have heard of.  I had never heard of Atahualpa Severino, but I just love that name.  If you can't figure out why, study some Inca Empire, bro.

Are they better than last year? Yeah, they are.  The Myers for Shields trade was risky, but Shields is now the best pitcher on the Royals roster.  He may not be an "ace" but he makes them better.  Davis is a nice player, Santana should help and Guthrie might not be an embarrassment.  The rotation is better, the bullpen is excellent and the lineup is promising.  I'm in.

How the Twins can finish ahead of them - I don't think they realistically can, but injuries and lack of development could derail any team's season. 

Predicted Division Finish -  I'd say second, but I would not be all that surprised if they finished first.  The talent has been brewing for years and it is reasonable to assume that it will hit at some point.  I hope it does.  I feel a kinship with the city of Kansas City and if the Twins are going to be terrible, I'd like to see the Royals have some success.  Their fans deserve it.

Interested in the rest of the Central?  Here are the remaining teams.  Twins coming soon.

Chicago White Sox

Cleveland Indians

Detroit Tigers

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