Unlike other teams that seemingly had no chance at contending in 2021, the Kansas City Royals refused to tank. They added veterans Carlos Santana and Mike Minor on two year deals while bringing back pieces from their World Series bullpen in an attempt to compete. The front office thought they had a solid squad, and if everything went right, the Royals could have had a shot at the division.
For a time, that was actually the case. The Royals had the best record in the AL on May 1, giving hope that they could actually contend. An 11 game losing streak to begin the month ended those hopes as the season quickly turned into another lost year.
Three moves for Kansas City Royals this offseason
But the Royals are not likely to stand pat. While they have several top prospects on the cusp of the majors, and intriguing young arms in the rotation, they are looking to contend in the coming year. It is debatable as to whether or not that can happen, but the future does look promising.
Let’s take a look at three moves the Kansas City Royals should make this offseason to help both the present and future.
Figure out what to do with Hunter Dozier
In 2019, Hunter Dozier appeared to be a building block for the Kansas City Royals. He appeared to have put everything together with the bat, producing a 124 OPS+ while hitting 26 homers and 29 doubles in his 586 plate appearances. Dozier even led the majors with ten triples, a surprising amount for a player who is not considered to be a burner on the bases.
Although he struggled in the pandemic shortened 2020 season, the Royals were confident that he would return to the form he showed the previous year. They gave him a four year extension worth $25 million, including a $10 million team option for 2025. If he did return to that form, this extension would be a bargain.
Instead, Dozier struggled for most of the year. Even a strong September was not enough to salvage his performance, as he posted a .216/.285/.394 batting line in his 543 plate appearances, hitting 16 homers and 27 doubles.
Just a year later, it is questionable as to where Dozier fits into the Royals’ plans. He could theoretically slot in at third, where they have an opening, but he has cost Kansas City 26 runs in four years at the hot corner. While Dozier has been better defensively in right, Kyle Isbel may be ready to claim a major league spot for his own. Dozier could be a man without a position.
The Kansas City Royals need to figure out what to do with Hunter Dozier. Sending him to third base seems logical, but it is a matter of whether or not they can live with his defense.