Offseason decisions loom for tanking Royals


Alex Burbidge, Reporter

The offseason in Major League Baseball is often seen as the optimal time to improve a team. The Royals certainly could use improvement if they wish to start competing again in the coming years.

The obvious move to be made is trading Whit Merrifield, second baseman. Coming off a season in which he led MLB in hits (192) and stolen bases (45), his trade value is currently at its absolute maximum. However, he will be 30 years old in January and by the time the Royals are in their competing window again, he will likely be 35 or older.

Salvador Perez, catcher, is another key player that the Royals have to consider trading. He, like Merrifield, is only getting older and soon will have to move to first base, blocking Ryan O’Hearn, first baseman, from valuable playing time. His defense is as good as ever, winning his fifth Gold Glove award. his bat has also been declining at a steady rate; though he hit 27 home runs in 2018, he also posted a miserable .235/.274/.439 slash line, far below an average Major League hitter. Many teams are in dire need of a catcher and would trade top-tier prospects for Perez’ services.

Another area the Royals need to improve in is their horrific bullpen. While a rebuilding team should be given a pass for having a bad bullpen, there is no excuse for the abomination the Royals rolled out in 2018. While some of the blame can be placed on Ned Yost, manager, for repeatedly using the worst pitchers in key situations, having Jason Adam, Blaine Boyer, Justin Grimm, Brandon Maurer, Enny Romero and Burch Smith, pitchers, on a Major League roster is unacceptable, with each of them having an earned run average above 6.00.

Dayton Moore, Royals general manager, has already started to make moves, acquiring Billy Hamilton, outfielder. This move, however, makes no sense for the Royals. Their outfield already consists of Jorge Bonifacio, Brian Goodwin, Alex Gordon, Rosell Herrera, Brett Phillips and Jorge Soler, and adding one more player to the mix doesn’t help the Royals’ logjam. Additionally, Hamilton is one of the weakest hitters in baseball, with a slash line of .239/.299/.327 and a pitiful OPS+ of 68. Though he relies mostly on his speed, he doesn’t get on base often enough to utilize it and only stole 34 bases in 2018. However, he is a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder and will likely start the season as the Royals’ starting center fielder.

Signing promising young talents and trading for prospects should be the Royals’ main goal this offseason, as well as inviting some of their minor leaguers to Major League Spring Training. Those who were snubbed from September call-ups last year should have no problem getting an invite and some could even make the Opening Day roster. Don’t be surprised if Richard Lovelady and Jonathan Dziedzic, pitchers, sneak their way onto the Major League roster, as well as slugging first baseman Frank Schwindel.