Offseason Grading: The Kansas City Royals

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Over the next two weeks, we’ll be going through the offseason moves in the AL and NL Central.  Day one (today), we’ll start with the easiest team to grade: The Kansas City Royals.

The best thing about grading the Royals? It doesn’t really matter what we give them, they will probably take last place in the AL Central. Let’s look at what they did:

Additions: Jeff Francoeur, Melky Cabrera, Alcides Escobar, Jeff Francis, Lorenzo Cain.

Remember in 2005 when Francoeur hit .300, had 14 homeruns and had 45 RBI? He had a huge arm and we thought he was the next best thing for Atlanta since Andruw Jones (before the steroids…) Fast-forward two years and the guy is hitting near the Mendoza Line (.239) and the Braves lost hope.

Good news for him, he’ll be getting paid $5 million this year, while playing with absolutely no pressure. Ahh, to be a Royal.

Side note: Has anyone had a more depressing two years than Cabrera? He goes from being an everyday player for the Yankees, making his flaws less visible. Wins a championship, seemed like a poor man’s Bernie Williams and BOOM, here he is in 2011 – a Kansas City Royal. Sounds gross.

Subtractions: Zack Greinke, Gil Meche, Brian Bannister, David DeJesus, Yuniesky Betancourt (say that 10 times fast).

Doesn’t it seem like the Royals have been rebuilding since getting Greinke? He was supposed to be the answer, but they instead were forced to trade him for more prospects. I have a feeling this is a cycle.

It’s not like Greinke had a great season, (10-14, 4.17 ERA), but I would imagine it’d be hard finding motivation while playing for the Royals. Scouts say that Greinke was the most talented pitcher in the AL, so I’ll take their word. He’s only 27, so he’s probably got another five-to-six solid years left in him, but do the Royals plan on being a contender any time soon?

Probably not. Trading him was a good move.

Who needs to be great?

Alicides Escobar. He is a 24-year-old shortstop. The cute prospect days are over, my friend. It’s time to play up to your potential. He’ll play great defense and steal bases, but…

He hit .234 last season. With hitting like that, with his skill set, he’s just another Nick Punto.

It seems as if the Royals have 1,903 top-prospects every year. You’d think after all this time; at least one would turn out, right?

They might have the “best” farm-league system in the MLB, but that does nothing. There has to be something wrong with the transition period. Is their hitting coach Mario Mendoza? Is the pitching coach Jose Lima? What’s happening here?!! We need answers.

Offseason Grade: B

I don’t really know what to make of their offseason. Did they need to get Greinke out of town for some prospects? Yes, (he’ll thrive in the NL, every pitcher does). But does it improve their team? Not anytime soon it won’t. For the Royals, they need one of the many prospects they have to be an All-Star type of player; otherwise the next 10 years will be exactly like the last 10.

Kyle Ratke is a frequent contributor. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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