Royals in Worse Case Scenario

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It is the question that has been in the back of our minds since the beginning of Spring Training, and covered by the local sports media circuit twice now. "What will the Royals do with their plethora of free agents this season?" 

We were all certain if the Royals got off to a fast start, they would play for "One More Championship."  Or if they were double digit games back by June they would host a Miami(esque) fire sale.  But here we are nearing the two month mark, and the Royals are in the worst possible spot.  We are 4.5 games out of first, after playing horrid baseball for a month, and now are playing really well.

Who would have thought going into the season the Royals would be in last place in the Central and the Twins would be in first at the quarter mark of the season.  It is equally safe to say that no one would have expected the Indians, A.L. reigning champs, to be hovering around the .500 mark.  This year the Central seems to be taking a big step back. A surprise considering  it produced the A.L. Champs each of the previous three seasons.  So where does this leave the Royals?

The Royals are stuck in a weird baseball futures purgatory.  It is far to early to call the season.  However, it is getting closer and closer to the event horizon of July 31st.  In a recent interview, GMDM told Soren Petro of 810 sports radio, that he wasn't even thinking of possible trades yet.  Some equate this to GM speak, but this is probably the case. 

The amateur draft is three weeks away.  Dayton and many of the Royal's scouting department are putting together their draft boards.  They are cross checking each other, and making sure the future Eric Hosmer, or Danny Duffy doesn't slip by them. 

Make no mistake.  They still have a board of Major League targets they are keeping eyes on, and probably more minor league targets, but the main focus for the next month will be the draft.  It is my feeling that the Royals will not make any major moves until after the June 12th draft.

GMDM also mentioned he only really needs 2 days to put together a trade.  This does not mean he is waiting to see where we are the last week of July to pull the trigger, what it means is when the trades do happen, he hasn't been plotting it for an extended period of time.  Some things of note with this statement. 

Teams obviously will add value to more season the player can help them with.  So trading in June could get a bigger pay back than in early July.  Teams usually don't start the trade market until mid-way through July.  This way teams that are unsure of their place in the pecking order can get a clearer self image, and determine their need.  And lastly, waiting to the last minute won't always pan out.  Sometimes suitor's just aren't there when you need them, and you miss your window. 

So what if the Royals go for it, and miss?  The Royals still have options if they can't resign their guys.  For instance, if we float a qualifying offer to any of our players, and they turn it down to test the free agent waters.  The MLB collective bargaining agreement states that we will get back a compensatory pick and extra money to use in the draft if that players signs anywhere else for $50 million or more.  That may seem like a huge chunk of change, but you can guarantee Hosmer and Moose both will draw that kind of number due to age, and potential productivity. 

Jason Vargas is on a pace to earn that kind of money, and Lorenzo Cain, where he is older and more injury prone, does have a 3rd place MVP honor, and post season hardware to rest on.  So it isn't out of the realm of possibility that if he stays hot this year, and keeps cover 2/3's of the Earth Surface on defense that he too gets that deal. Which not surprisingly leaves behind only Esky.  Oddly enough, this is the only name you have heard floating around with a possibility of re-signing mid-season. PLEASE NO…..

So what does it all mean?  If you are a Royals fan it means, go out there and cheer.  I think GMDM has a plan in place right now.  He is going to end up waiting until we are just a far off heat wave in the rearview mirror of the Central leaders, and then decide if he can make the right move, or wait for free agency.  This will be Moore's second act as Royals General Manager.  If it is anywhere near as good as his first, I think we are going to be a Baseball City for a lot longer! 



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Author: Walker

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