Kansas City Royals can’t go halfway on rebuilding plans

The Kansas City Royals plans on whether or not to go into full rebuild mode seem to hinge on their ability to re-sign Eric Hosmer.

The future for the Kansas City Royals is murky at best right now. They seem to be in a holding pattern, waiting to see if they can convince first baseman Eric Hosmer to return to the club.

Or maybe they are waiting to see if they can possibly match his best offer. Who knows how that situation will turn out, but assume the Royals cannot afford whatever Hosmer and his agent Scott Boros are asking.

Because of an ill-timed blazing hot streak last July that left the Royals front office and fan base convinced they could compete for a playoff spot, the Royals were unable to turn their numerous free agents into prospects.

You can’t blame them. The Royals played their way back into contention just long enough for the trade deadline to pass, and the Cleveland Indians had not yet put much distance between themselves and Kansas City. For the Royals, it was the last chance at success with that core group of players and Dayton Moore really had no option but to let the season play out.

What now?

Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, and Jason Vargas are all more than likely gone forever. Mike Minor has already moved on. What choice do the Royals have but to rebuild?

The hardest part of this is for the fans. Understanding the team probably isn’t going to be good for the next few years is hard to swallow, especially after tasting success again after so many terrible years. No one wants to return to the dark ages of the previous decades.

Yet, that is most likely what will have to happen. The Royals just have too many holes to fill and too much money tied up in bad contracts.

According to Spotrac, they owe Alex Gordon $40 million over the next two years plus a $4 million buyout in 2020. They still need to pay Ian Kennedy $49 million over three years.

Their hands are going to be tied for the next three years until these salaries are off the books. They are not going to be able to add more than the payroll they are already committed to paying so it will hard to see much improvement here.

How much help will it be to have Danny Duffy, Salvador Perez, and Whit Merrifield? Will they compete with these guys and whomever the organization can place around them?

As hard as it may be to accept, the answer is probably not. If the Kansas City Royals are going into full rebuild mode, and it is going to be at least three years before they have the money to add valuable pieces where needed, then they need to trade these players.

It sucks. There is no way to sugar coat that. We love Salvy. Duffy doesn’t want to leave, and we don’t want him to. How can you not love Whit?

The best bet right now is to grab what value you can now for those players. The Royals need to get some great prospects. They need to use the draft picks they are going to get for losing all of the free agents and restock the minor league system top to bottom.

They need to aim for the future and as tough as it will be, everyone needs to accept that this is what needs to happen.

Don’t waste money on the likes of has-beens like Mark Reynolds and Carlos Gonzalez. Don’t spend $8 million on some terrible fifth starter. Play your young players like Hunter Dozier and Erik Skoglund. Give them some experience and see if they are the future.

It shouldn’t be hard to trade those players. They have value for other teams. It will be hard for the Royals and their fans to see them go and it might hurt a little. Sometimes you have to tear down to rebuild.

No one likes it when it comes to this point, but the Royals have spent a lot of money over the last few years and came away with two World Series appearances and a World Championship.

Sometimes, this is the long-term fallout of such successes. Such is the business of baseball.

The fans will recover, but the team needs to go all in if they decide to go into rebuild mode. They won’t be successful if they try to do it halfway.

The Royals need to set a goal for when they think they can once again compete, and make every move going forward with the mindset of attaining that goal.

There are going to be a few lean years ahead. There are not going to be many wins. There are not going to be many successes in the immediate future, but if it gets the team back to competing for championships again, without waiting 30 years, then it will be worth it.

Organizations have down periods. Even a franchise like the Dodgers had to wit 29 years between World Series appearances. It happens. The Royals need just to get it down.

 

The Kansas City Royals have a long road ahead, but it will be a shorter path if they rebuild quickly. If they do halfway, it will take even longer to recover than it should, and no one wants that.