The AL Central is expected to come down to a battle between the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox. Both teams have spent the offseason improving their rosters, seemingly to the point where it is a foregone conclusion that the division will go through those two teams. However, the Kansas City Royals are not exactly going away.
Their quest to improve their roster continued on Wednesday night. As part of a three team deal, the Royals acquired Andrew Benintendi while sending away a pair of toolsy outfielders in Khalil Lee and Franchy Cordero. While Benintendi is under team control for two more years, this is the type of move that a team looking to contend in 2021 would make.
Kansas City Royals looking to make AL Central three team race
The Royals had somewhat slipped under the radar this offseason, but they have made several moves to improve the roster. Carlos Santana was signed to a two year deal to provide another on base machine to the lineup. Mike Minor and Greg Holland are back, shoring up the rotation and bullpen respectively.
Even the Royals minor league deals have upside. Wade Davis had become a dominant reliever in his previous stint in Kansas City. Hanser Alberto has the ability to play several positions and has a decent amount of pop in his bat. Both players could end up having a role on the Royals this year.
In the end, it may come down to how well the youngsters in the rotation perform. Brady Singer and Kris Bubic showed flashes of their promise last year, but need to take that next step as the Royals look to contend. If that can happen in 2021, the timeline may be accelerated.
At this point, there is no question that the Royals roster is better than it was last year. The offense has become modernized, as there is a focus on getting on base once again. Both the starting rotation and the bullpen are intriguing, and could be better in the coming year. Kansas City may not be ready to contend, but they appear to be close.
And they could be closer than we think. The Kansas City Royals may be able to turn the AL Central into a three team race after all.