Sitting only 1.5 games out of first-place and only a week left before the non-waiver trade deadline, there is only one thing for the Royals to do, buy.
Despite the horrid start to this season, the Royals are still in contention to make their third playoff appearance in four years and with all the looming free agents on the roster, this is the time to go for it.
With the Indians failing to live up to expectations that had them running away with the AL Central, KC has managed to hang around and take over second-place in the division.
The Royals could've taken over the top spot while Cleveland struggled on the west coast, but Texas continued its mastery over them. They dropped four of five to open the 10-game homestand after the All-Star break, but fortunately, the Indians and Twins were unable to drop the Royals further down.
Then Brandon Moss came alive and ignited a five-game winning streak, capped by a walk-off single against the White Sox on Sunday.
I'm not saying that Moss is the one who will deliver the pennant nor am I saying that they should look to replace him but they should keep their options open. He is hitting .326 this month and has raised his average by 20 points. Maybe they don't have to add a bat.
What the Royals must add is starting pitching.
It’s no secret that the additions of players such as Jason Hammel, Travis Wood and Nathan Karns, who has been lost for the year to season-ending injury, hasn’t worked out as hoped.
When signed, each player was thought to be someone that may be able to help stabilize the pitching staff of an organization who’s waiting for its minor leaguers to arrive. Neither has happened yet.
What pitchers might be on the Royals' radar?
According to MLBTradeRumors.com, KC is focused on landing a right-handed starter with eyes on acquiring Sonny Gray, Lance Lynn and/or Julian Tehran. Gray and Tehran are both controllable beyond 2017, while Lynn is the very definition of a rental player and would be a free agent at season’s end.
Lynn has posted an 8-6 record this season with a 3.30 ERA and 1.11 WHIP compared to a 7-8 mark by Tehran with a 4.75 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. Both players have started 20 games.
Although Vargas hasn’t been himself out of the break, he’s still a solid No. 2 behind Duffy, and Ian Kennedy is still serviceable at the back end of the rotation especially with the emerging shutdown bullpen.
Just think what could’ve been if Wade Davis hadn’t been traded and the Royals had taken the chance Greg Holland was completely recovered. Both were All-Stars this season.
That’s for another time.
Back to the subject of this feature.
If the group of Hosmer, Moustakas, Cain, and Escobar is to be afforded another shot at the World Series, Dayton Moore and his scouts must address the starting pitching.
How the Royals will look in 2018 is anyone’s guess, but the chance to win with this group of players is still intact and at the very least, the front office should give them the best pieces possible to make another October run.
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