For most of the offseason, news out of Kauffman stadium has been as quiet as a church mouse. Recently, with the MLB’s winter meetings underway, as well as the announcement of the new collective bargaining agreement, rumors are coming fast and furious. It’s imperative for the future of the franchise to have a better free agent period this year than last, especially given the amount of free agents after this season.
First let’s look at our free agent players that we are losing.
- Kendrys Morales – signed with Toronto
- Edinson Volquez – signed with Miami
- Luke Hochevar – free agent
- Dillon Gee – free agent
- Greg Holland – free agent
- “Tiny” Tim Collins – free agent
- Kris Medlen – free agent
- Peter Moylan – free agent
- Brooks Pounders – traded for minor league pitcher Jared Ruxer, not to be confused with Ruxin from the TV show The League
The only signing the Royals have made so far has been re-signing backup catcher Drew Butera to a 2-year deal worth $3.8 million.
Free Agents after 2017
It has been well documented that after 2017, the window for the Royals will most likely close. While GM Dayton Moore has been preparing for this by signing Alex Gordon, Ian Kennedy and Salvador Perez beyond this year. He’s also facing the music of trading some of the core guys that are in the last year of their contracts to ensure the Royals can, not only compete this season, but in the seasons to come. Here is a list of some of the players that will be free agents after this season that could be traded:
- Wade Davis
- Lorenzo Cain
- Mike Moustakas
- Alcides Escobar
- Jarrod Dyson
- Danny Duffy
- Eric Hosmer
- Jason Vargas
While it may seem unimaginable to part with some these guys, it may need to be done to ensure the betterment of the franchise long-term. In a perfect world, especially with small market teams, there would be reinforcements waiting internally to fill most of these spots but a lot of our farm system was depleted trading for the likes of Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist in our World Series run (well worth it).
Some of the rumors coming from the winter meetings have been about the Royals gauging interest from teams on Danny Duffy and Jarrod Dyson, but the most intense talk has involved Wade F. Davis and Lorenzo Cain. The Dodgers, Cubs, Nationals and Cardinals are among the teams showing interest, especially in Davis. Kolten Wong (Cardinals) and Jorge Soler (Cubs) are some of the names being bandied about. Both are young and under team control for several seasons. Wong was once a highly touted 2nd base prospect would fall in the same vain as Alcides Escobar in my opinion. Jorge Soler similarly, has disappointed somewhat after being highly touted. The outfielder is intriguing however, as he still has good power potential.
As much as it will pain Royals fans to lose Wade Davis, it’s important to strike while the iron’s hot. This is something they didn’t do in the past with Soria or Greg Holland. We have a plethora of bullpen arms, the Cubs have a glut of outfielders, it makes sense. Our offensive was abysmal last year, and we lost Morales, Soler will help. Far from a finished product, however, he’s raw and in need of refining. If the trade is one-for-one, it’ll be disappointing not to have gotten more for the best reliever in baseball the past three seasons, but I will still support the move. It’s important to remember that closers don’t last forever and Davis is 31 now and last season may have been the beginning of his decline with his injuries. Dammit though, we will always love you Wade F. Davis! Thanks for the memories.
I don’t envy Dayton Moore’s position this offseason, he has an extremely difficult task ahead. Trying to walk the tightrope of being all-in for 2017 while also moving pieces for the future sounds like a dauntless, if not impossible, task. It’s concerning, to say the least, the way the club has publicly talked of shedding payroll and not being able to “add anyone of substance” due to payroll limitations. That doesn’t sound like being all-in to me. A key to look for, what they do with Danny Duffy. If Duffy gets traded, along with some of the others, that says to me they are looking more to rebuild than going for it. It’s hard to see a scenario of how this team can compete for a pennant without the Duffman leading the rotation.