Royals Winter Meetings Primer
Baseball executives began to file into Nashville yesterday and the talks are already hot, but the official beginning of the biggest week of the off-season has arrived. The winter meetings are typically where many top free agents make their decisions about where to go and where some trades are consummated that will begin to shape the 2013 season. With the advent of MLB Network, we’ve been granted a much bigger window into what is happening there as they are on the scene giving us interviews and just being in the lobby of the hotel. I think it’s one of the coolest weeks to watch that studio show. Our favorite team, the Kansas City Royals, could be very active this week…or they could walk away with very little. If they had their druthers, they’d probably walk away with someone to slot in the top three of their rotation with Santana and Guthrie and maybe a veteran bullpen arm (even though I don’t think they need it).
Here’s what to watch for:
Is Wil Myers on the move?
The Royals push for a top of the rotation starter could force them to make a trade unless they’re somehow able to scrape together enough change from the couch cushions to go after Zack Greinke or even Anibal Sanchez. My guess is they won’t turn over enough cushions to get there and will need to instead trade for the guy they can slot¬†ahead of Santana and Guthrie. There are rumblings, as there have been all season, that David Price is available for the right price. Does Wil Myers start that discussion? If he does, he’s a guy I would trade Myers for. If the Royals trade Myers for Shields instead, though, then I think that’s not a great deal. I feel like if the Royals make a trade for a number one, it’s going to cost Myers or Hosmer. The notable exception is R.A. Dickey who appears to be available and might cost less than the Royals top prospect and their top current building block.
What if they trade for another mid-rotation guy?
Well that question makes things a little more interesting. I sure hope they don’t trade Myers or Hosmer for a guy who slots as a number three at best, but the Reds might have a couple available starters in Homer Bailey and Mike Leake. I’d be pretty pleased with an acquisition of either, depending on the cost in players of course. Some names you could see on the move for a guy of this ilk are guys like Yordano Ventura, Cheslor Cuthbert, Christian Colon, Aaron Crow, Jorge Bonifacio and maybe even a guy like Jake Odorizzi. Obviously I’ll have to see any deal of this ilk before I figure out if I like it or not, but I think I’d probably support a move along those lines.
Will the Royals make a move in the Rule V draft?
The Royals have benefited many times from the draft at the end of the meetings, but this season there just doesn’t seem to be a guy like Joakim Soria or even a Jon Nunnaly. They could try to do what most teams do and draft a reliever like a Josh Fields who was a former top prospect. My guess it they draft someone and trade him immediately, but I guess there’s a chance they draft a catcher or something as a backup they can keep on the roster all season long or maybe a power guy who could be lethal off the bench in the late innings.
What will the Royals bullpen look like?
In 2012, the Royals had one of the game’s best bullpens and it was led mostly by young pitchers like Greg Holland, Kelvin Herrera, Aaron Crow and Tim Collins. Given the volatility of relievers and the volatility of young players in general, the Royals would not hesitate to trade any of them in the right deal. Of course the right deal for Crow is different than the right deal for Holland, but if any of them can help to sweeten the pot to bring back that starting pitcher we’ve so desperately dreamed of, Dayton Moore understands trading relievers for starters is good practice. One of Dayton Moore’s first significant moves in his tenure was to trade a closer (Ambiorix Burgos) for a starter (Brian Bannister). He held onto Soria too long, but I think he’s learned from that mistake. On the note of Soria, I still think there’s a good chance he’s back in the fold this season for however long he’s able to pitch this year. That said, I’ve mentioned that if there’s a bidding war, let another team pay too much money for a guy coming off his second Tommy John surgery.
Will the Royals do anything outside of the pitching staff?
I think that’s a question that can’t be answered fully until we know what happens with the pitching staff. There’s one position, second base, that I could see the Royals upgrading through either a trade or free agency before dealing with the pitching. But if they can’t find a bargain there, I think they’re content to go into spring training with a competition among Chris Getz, Johnny Giavotella, Christian Colon and Irving Falu. There’s every chance that after addressing the pitching, they’ll have a hole in the offense that needs to be filled either through free agency or a trade. Maybe they’ll need an outfielder and a guy like Andres Torres may appeal. Or maybe they need a corner infielder to replace a traded player. Either way, you probably won’t see much position player action until the rotation is addressed, and that’s probably the way to go considering the dynamic of the team.
All I know is that I love the winter meetings, and I think many fans do because it’s just fun to see the market unfold before the season begins. The thing I hate about the winter meetings is that when they’re over, there’s not much to look forward to until spring training gets going. So the next few days will be our last mad dash of baseball before the calendar changes. Let’s hope for the sake of the Royals that they’re able to check off everything on their shopping list without having to give up Myers, Hosmer or Moustakas.
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