The Kansas City Royals won the 2015 World Series. They posted the best record in the American League. They had 7 players named to the All-Star team. They raised a Royal Blue middle finger to conventional wisdom and figured out a new way to be a dominant baseball team. They made the governor of Texas, the PECOTA projections and Jason La Confora look like absolute tools (admittedly, not that hard to do).
It was a dominant 12 months for the franchise, both on the field and in the media. It’s *kind of* hard to ask for anything better. But we fans are a hungry bunch of consumers. Adorned in World Championship attire from spikes to cap, we want more, more, more!
Looking ahead at 2016, here is this gluttonous fan’s wish list:
1) Sign Alex Gordon
With one swing in game one of the 2015 World Series, Alex Gordon put the final required line on his Royals Hall of Fame resume. That’s awesome. He will one day join the 26 other men who have this honor.
Gordon has the chance to be something more. Provided he doesn’t absolutely fall off a cliff in terms of production (which is certainly a possibility as he enters his early to mid 30’s), he has the legitimate chance to see a gold 4 placed next to the 20, 10, and 5 on top of the Royals Hall of Fame.
Is it the smartest baseball decision for the Royals? Probably not. Whereas Gordo certainly won’t command the 100+ million that was once projected, he still will call for a contract that makes him the highest paid player on the team for the next 4ish years. This will mean that someone else in the crop of Cain, Moustakas, Davis, Escobar, Salvy, Duffy, etc. will not get that money (Hosmer excluded because there is NO way the Royals will afford the 20+ per he will more than likely get in free agency).
Signing Gordon now probably means the team as a whole is somewhat hampered in 2018, 2019, 2020, etc. Guess what? I don’t care. Call me spoiled by our back to back World Series appearances, but I want to see a lifelong Royal get his number retired by the team more than I want another World Series.
#GMDM has (so far) made the right choice in letting Gordon’s market play out. Gone are the 9 figure reports. Hell, some even say that the Royals are the only team with a 4 year deal on the table. To not sign him now would be even more of a maple splinter to the heart.
Whatever it takes in the end, get it done.
2) Restock the coffers
Zobrist is gone. Madson is gone. Cueto is gone. Franklin Morales is gone. Rios is gone. Guthrie is gone. Holland is hurt. Vargas is hurt. All of those players played fairly significant or greater roles in the 2015 team’s success.
Some work has been done. Chris Young has re-signed, filling the same valuable swing role he did this past year. Soria has been brought back (which totally allows me to start wearing my Soria t-shirt jersey in public again). Trying to catch “madson-in-a-bottle”, John Lannan and Dillon Gee were signed to minor league contracts.
Understanding that any major moves are currently on hold until the Gordon situation works itself out, the team still has holes to fill. Some of that could come from within, but some will have to come from sly under-the-radar free agent acquisitions. Lucky for us, this is one of the things that #GMDM has proven to be best at.
3) Develop a true ace
#GMDM’s plan took longer than even he expected, but it has greatly paid off in the end. He has shown the ability to draft, develop, sign, or trade for the best defense in baseball, the best bullpen in baseball, and a tenacious offense that produces more than enough runs to get the job done. He is one of (if not the) best general managers in baseball right now.
But one achievement he has yet to unlock is the acquisition of a true, legitimate number one (Cueto aside, who we all can admit only very sparingly pitched like an ace while in Royal blue). We all know that given the economics of MLB, the Royals will never be in the race in terms of buying a developed stud.
So we are left with draft/trade and develop. Ventura has shown flashes, Duffy looks dominant at times, and highly touted Zimmer is waiting in the wings. It is time for one of these “CAN’T MISS DOMINANT STARTING PITCHING PROSPECTS!!!!” that we’ve been hearing about for almost a decade to not miss.
4) Postseason or bust
Yep. We’re at that point. A severe outbreak of serious injuries aside, we are now a “postseason or bust” franchise.
Furthermore, another deep run into the playoffs and we could start to see that “dynasty” label get thrown around. That’d be neat.
5) Mustard Mondays at the K
Because only savages put ketchup on a hot dog. Don’t be that guy.
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Alex Gordon is officially staying home! The Royals and Gordon announced today that they have reached a deal worth $72 Million dollars over the next four years. In all this will is now officially the largest contract in Royals Franchise History. A career .269 hitter, Gordon ... Read more