“Stoking The Fire” Week 3: Kansas City Royals State Of The Union 2014 Part 1

James Shields turned in a workman like effort for the Royals - only to have received little run support.  With the Trade having going down seemingly to correct each other main ailments with the Rays needing offense and the Royals needing defense.  It has worked for both teams.  2014 becomes the most pivotal year in the last 3 decades for the franchise - as it is "Big Game" James' last year under contract.

James Shields turned in a workman like effort for the Royals (13 – 9, with a 3.15 ERA – AL leading 228.2 IP and 34 Game Starts) – only to have received little run support. With the Trade having going down seemingly to correct each other main ailments with the Rays needing offense and the Royals needing defense. It has worked for both teams. 2014 becomes the most pivotal year in the last 3 decades for the franchise – as it is “Big Game” James’ last year under contract.  With them trading away Wil Myers for his services, the team needs to capitalize on this year.  Ultimately the franchise should spend any amount of $$$ necessary in 2014 to compete with the big boys of the AL.  With so many of their own core young players due to start receiving salaries increases, this next year has to be the time to go for it!!

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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I am officially calling out the Royals Management and ownership to buck up again for the 2014 season.  If ever there was a year to spend the money it is now!

You have James Shields for one more year, and all of your core young players like Billy Butler, Eric HosmerLuke Hochevar and Mike Moustakas are heading for some payraises in the near future for Arbitration.

Wade Davis also will see his money bumped in 2015.

For all of the Rosters, Depth Charts, State of the Unions and Salaries Posts that we do, please visit our dedicated page link here.

The time to win is now!

Shields first inning as a Royal

Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, Billy Butler are part of a young core of talent that could really all flourish at the same time.  The franchise had added Veteran  Starting Pitching this year and look as strong as ever to end the 28 year Playoff Drought.  The management and ownership has spent more money than any Royals team in club history.  The will probably battle with the Detroit Tigers all season long for the AL Central Division

Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon, Alicides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Billy Butler are part of a young core of talent that really need to put forth their best year collectively in 2014.   The franchise had added Veteran Starting Pitchers in recent years – and now should look to supplant the club with some offensive reinforcements.  The coaches also can’t wait for player performances to turn around.  It would behoove the brass to sign some talented Free Agent’s to post the underachievers back to the role of a bench player – and especially if they don’t produce in early 2014..

With Free Agent Pitching costing an all time high for term and price, and the club trading away several prospects and hitters to acquire Pitching, the team will be without solid starters again for 2015.

The 1st thing they should do is resign Bruce Chen – and have him for the back of the Rotation.

Dude has foraged an improbable 45 – 39 (.539) with a 4.32 ERA for several bad KC clubs in the last five years.  He likes the city and should sign for around the $5 MIL range.

With the emergence of Danny Duffy, you can a Starter Staff of James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie, Danny Duffy, Bruce Chen and either Wade Davis and Luis Mendoza.

I would never tell the Royals to spend any more money for Pitching to begin the year, the club was extremely solid out of the Bullpen with Luke Hochevar and Greg Holland having wicked 2013 seasons.

The better option is to wait until the July Trade Deadline, and flip more prospects for pending Free Agent Pitchers on expiring contracts.

Other positions

1B:  Eric Hosmer (.302/.353/.801 – with 17 HRs, 188 Hits  and 79 RBI came on strong at the end of the year, and the club should hope he can continue his ‘Alex Gordon like’ transformation as the seasons continue to progress.

2B:  Needs to be addressed as Chris Getz didn’t cut it, and Emilio Bonifacio was abysmal with both Toronto and KC this last campaign.  Look in my Free Agents list for the club to see how they should target.

SS:  You hope that Alcides Escobar is more reflective of his .721 OPS in 2012 – rather .559 in 2013, but this is where having versatile Infielders would arm the coaches with the ability to bench Escobar if he struggles.

3B:  Same as Escobar struggled from 2012, 2013, Moustakas was extremely close to riding a one way ticket to nowhere in 2013 (.598 OPS in the 1sy 80 GP), before a 2nd half surge (.725 OPS last 56 GP).

The big Third Baseman may be the deciding factor whether or not this team can contend.  Again, if you can sign some versatile Infielders, you could possible see this guy riding pine in the season of 2014.

LF:  Nothing wrong with Alex Gordon at all, plug him in here and let him do his part.

DH:  Billy Butler has a sub-par year for his standards in 2013, however look for him to put up monster numbers in a contract year!

CF:  Another one of the offensive players that failed to meet expectations in 2013 was Lorenzo Cain.  If I were the club, I would potentially make he or Justin Maxwell the 4th OF on this club.

RF:  David Lough did a great job once they punted Jeff Francoeur, yet I don’t bank on the player to be on a playoff squad.  He could challenge for the spot though.

Bullpen:  Was solid across the board, and they should not have to go after anyone in FA.

The more likely move is to go after a couple of Free Agents.

On top of their list should be 2013 Yanks OF Curtis Granderson ( offer 2 YRs/$26 MIL – similar to Carlos Beltran‘s deal for the 2012 – 2013 Cards – with a 3rd year Vesting Option based on performance).

Tigers  2B – Omar Infante (Throw a deal of 3 YRs/$30 MIL for ultra versatile Infielder – who could play SS/3B/2B – all of which you are not certain to receive production from

Tigers  SS/LF Jhonny Peralta.

There are not going to be too many years the Yankees are in hibernation.  You also don’t have the Astros, Twins and White Sox probably seeing their young guys flourish too soon.

The Mariners are going to put it together any year with that litany of young Starters, all they need to do is develop a few hitters.

The Athletics and Rangers will challenge for playoff spots, and you can expect the Angels to see a resurgence in 2014 on offense, but maybe you can take them down with your pitching.

The Tigers are the class of the AL Central for a few more years, and while they lose a few players, they still have Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera, Torii Hunter, Victor Martinez and Austin Jackson clubbing baseballs all on the same squad in 2014.

The Indians are also steadily improving every year, but are suspect with their Starting Pitching in the foreseeable future, and likely will not exceed their payroll of this year – with your perennial attendance woes.

The Blue did not find a way to get it done in 2013, albeit their offense was still pretty good until Jose Bautista went down for the year.

Again the Royals are shielded from playing that tough AL East schedule.

Tampa Bay will either trade David Price for a slugging hitter, or they will have their ace pitcher back to anchor an impressive staff.

Baltimore doesn’t look poised to take a run at serious Starting Pitchers on the FA Market (I think TOR, KC, BAL, OAK and TB have the most to lose going forward in the AL beyond 2014 – once the year ends).

Detroit will be overwhelming favorites in the AL Central, so your hope in KC is to contend for the Division, and rack up enough wins to be a Wild Card Contender.

If this year fails, it could be curtains for this team if James Shields leaves.  That was the risk in trading 7 years worth of Wil Myers for 2 of the former Rays Pitcher.

It was the right move for a franchise that as the longest continuous playoff drought in the Major League of Baseball (28 years).

Free Agency is the best way to seal the deal for the Royals in 2014 – as it requires the least amount of assets yielded back in return.  Spend the $$

Since the club has Arbitration Eligible players like Aaron Crow ($2 – 3 MIL), Eric Hosmer ($8 – 10 MIL), Tim Collins ($2 MIL), Luke Hochevar ($5 MIL ‘Super 2 – 4th Year ARB), and Greg Holland (could make $5 MIL or so in ARB) should bump the current payroll to about the Mid $60 MIL mark.

This team should fork down over $100 MIL in 2014 to compete.

Adding Granderson, Infante and Peralta would likely cost them around $30 – $35 MIL.

The team needs offensive help – as their pitching ranked among the tops in several chucking categories.

2014 is the right time to go balls to the wall for a playoff spot.  Your fans deserve it. Spend the dollars needed on offense, trade away some prospects to strengthen any weaknesses at the Deadline!

For all of the Rosters, Depth Charts, State of the Unions and Salaries Posts that we do, please visit our dedicated page link here.

The Royals fans just didn't come rushing through the turnstiles in 2013 - even though the team put up a 86 - 76 Record, and played meaningful games in September all the way to the last week of the regular season.  Kauffman Stadium saw 1.75 Million fans only for its home games this latest season, which was only good for 15th in the AL, and only ahead of last place in the MLB (Astros and  dumps of ballparks called o.co Coliseum and Tropicana Field)

The Royals fans just didn’t come rushing through the turnstiles in 2013 – even though the team put up a 86 – 76 Record, and played meaningful games in September all the way to the last week of the regular season. Kauffman Stadium saw 1.75 Million fans only for its home games this latest season, which was only good for 15th in the AL, and only ahead of last place in the MLB Astros, (Minute Maid Park – but only because of a poor team fielded), The Indians (Progressive Field) and the dump – Tropicana Field in St. Pete for the Rays).  This fanbase will support this team if they can contend the whole year, instead of doing a YOYO act like they pulled off in 2013.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners ***

A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Chief WriterHunter Stokes for preparing today’s featured article.  Hunter is a Baseball Writer for MLB reports.

Hunter grew up in Lynchburg, Virginia and played baseball with Sheldon Bream (Sid Bream‘s son) at Liberty University in the NCAA.

His favorite player is Brian Wilson (how could you guess?), and he hates when people can’t think outside the box! 

His favorite expression – is ‘drive that one out that out and you have 110 LBS worth of crap in a 100 pound sack!

You can reach Hunter on Twitter  

a hunter stokes

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Posted on October 30, 2013, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions, MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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