If the Kansas City Royals aren’t hitting their stride by midseason, it doesn’t look like GM Dayton Moore will wait to see if things turn around.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
It seemed like just yesterday the Kansas City Royals were on a potential dynasty run, reaching the World Series in back-to-back seasons and winning once on the backs of their home-grown talent. Now, the team may be going into a major rebuilding stage that starts with a fire sale.
According to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, general manager Dayton Moore has made it public to other executives that the team will trade away some of its top assets if it isn’t in a place to contend by July.
Alcides Escobar, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas will all be free agents following the 2017 season. The Royals have historically been a small market team that resists the urge to spend big money in the offseason, and it seems unlikely that the team would be able to retain all four players while upgrading the roster.
The Royals were a modest 81-81 last year, and they have not won fewer than 80 games since 2013. They traded away Wade Davis to the Cubs for Jorge Soler and have a weak bullpen entering the season, something that has been their strongest area in years past. They also tragically lost their ace Yordano Ventura in a car accident in the Dominican Republic on Jan. 22.
Their best hitter from last season, Kendrys Morales, walked away in free agency and the Royals elected to replace him with a cheaper option in Brandon Moss. The roster isn’t necessarily bad, but it isn’t nearly as good as it has been the last three seasons.
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It doesn’t make it any easier for Kansas City that they have to compete with the defending American League champions, the Cleveland Indians. They also have to look out for the consistent Detroit Tigers who have had just two losing seasons in the last 11 years.
If the Royals were to trade the four players mentioned earlier and initiate the fire sale, the return they would yield would be significant. Cain and Hosmer are top position players who would probably net the top prospect in another farm system. Dayton Moore isn’t new to rebuilding and seeing the recent success of teams like the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros will only motivate the deal-enthusiastic general manager.
What’s concerning is that none of the Royals’ current top prospects even show up on MLB.com’s top 100 prospects list. Hence, the future really isn’t bright in Kansas City if they don’t re-sign or trade away the four stars.
It may be tough for the fan base to swallow the subtraction of four players who helped bring a championship to the city for the first time since 1985, but trading them away will only help in the long run. Dayton Moore knows exactly how to construct a roster in repair, and that may even mean trading away aging players with existing contracts like Alex Gordon. The Miami Marlins have enjoyed fire sales in the past, but they’ve never really worked out for the team. I don’t envision Moore letting that happen in KC.
It seems like the dynasty run dream has sailed away quicker than it came to shore, but if the Royals trust Moore, they could be contending again sooner than we think.