Kansas City Royals Must Start Winning or be Dismantled

Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (35) - Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (35) - Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

The Kansas City Royals were looking for a much better start to the 2017 season than 2-6 with five losses to the Twins and Athletics.

The clock is ticking on the Kansas City Royals. They will pay out $145 million in 2017,  their biggest payroll ever, according to an Associated Press report published by the Kansas City Star.

Many of the players that make up the core of this team are in the last year of their contracts. These players, which include Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Lorenzo Cain.

Along with teammates Salvador Perez, Danny Duffy, Alex Gordon, and Kelvin Herrera, this group of Royals has been involved in the second most successful era in franchise history, behind the Royals teams from 1976-1985.

The front office decided to see just how far this group could go one last time.  Unfortunately, the Royals can’t afford to maintain that payroll throughout the season if the team isn’t competitive.

Yes, it has only been eight games. If this stretch of poor play happened in mid-June, it wouldn’t raise as many red flags. This isn’t mid-June.

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The longer it takes the Royals to pull out of this early tailspin, the harder it will be to make a comeback. If they don’t get on track soon, it could end up being too late very quickly.

Some disturbing trends have emerged during the first week and a half. The Royals seem to be enamored with home runs all of a sudden and it is not helping them at all. It isn’t what made them successful.

Take a look at the team rankings in the American League in some offensive categories, according to Fangraphs:

  • 3rd (tied) – Home Runs – 11
  • 4th – Stolen Bases – 6
  • 14th – Runs Scored – 24
  • 14th – Batting Average – .199
  • 6th – Strikeouts – 69
  • 13th – Walks – 23
  • 15th – On Base Percentage – .268
  • 12th – Slugging Percentage – .350
  • 15th – Batting Average on Balls in Play – .226

Except for the first two categories, these numbers are abysmal. The Batting Average and On Base Percentage are unfathomably horrific.

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Pitching isn’t much better as they rank last in the AL in ERA (5.02) and 14th in WHIP (1.59), though these numbers are skewed due to some implosions by the bullpen. Still, the stats aren’t good.

The Royals can turn this around. It IS just eight games into the season, but they need to get back to the kind of ball where they are comfortable.

There is hope, though. The last stat listed, Batting Average on Balls in Play, indicates the Royals are hitting into a lot of bad luck. Historically, this number is right around .300, year after year, for all of Major League Baseball. When this statistic starts to even out, the Royals will get hot in a hurry.

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Let’s hope it’s not too late when that happens.

The Royals are in a tough situation. With the changes to the rules, Kansas City will no longer be compensated with a draft pick if they lose key free agents. They will get nothing if the players sign with other teams.

If the Royals aren’t right in the thick of the race by the All-Star Game, there is no way they can take a chance at getting nothing in return for those key players.

If the Royals do not turn it around quickly, they may be out of it by the end of April. If the front office deems the team will struggle to get back into it, they may just decide to get as much as they can for the assets they have.

Dayton Moore might put out the For Sale sign as early as May or June if things don’t turnaround in the next few weeks.

Hosmer, Moustakas, Cain, Escobar, Jason Vargas, and probably Kelvin Herrera, Ian Kennedy, and Mike Minor will probably all get shopped. The Royals have no choice – if they fall too far behind too quickly, the team will have to try to trade those players for maximum value.

It is too early to panic, but the team needs to start winning some games very soon. The players know all of this. They want to stay together as long as possible. The longer the bad streak continues, though, the more pressure the players will put on themselves, and that seldom works out.

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The Kansas City Royals need to turn things around quickly or Dayton Moore and the front office will have no choice but to dismantle this team. They will need to change their mindset from challenging for the postseason to going into full rebuild mode.

If it happens, it will not be fun for fans. Many of these players are our favorites. Let’s hope we are worrying about nothing.