3) Why not take advantage of the current MLB market situation?
In an unusual twist, the Kansas City Royals are the biggest buyers this offseason in the AL Central.
Division stalwarts Cleveland and Minnesota have allowed players to leave their organization due to financial constraints. With Cleveland parting ways with Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco, Carlos Santana, Brad Hand, and Adam Cimber (worth about 4.9 WAR in a 35 win 2020 season). Minnesota has parted with Eddie Rosario, Marwin Gonzalez, Jake Odorizzi, Trevor May, Matt Wisler, Rich Hill, and Tyler Clippard (worth about 3.6 WAR in a 36 win 2020 season).
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The roster turnover and bullpen decimation for Cleveland and Minnesota will make them closer to 80 win teams than 90 win teams in 2021. The Chicago White Sox look to be the favorites in the AL Central heading into the 2021 season. The White Sox live and die with the home run and the new deaden ball for the 2021 season could affect their power output keeping them in the low 80 win territory.
The Royals have invested in free agent pitcher Mike Minor (2 years/$18M with $13M club option in 2023), first baseman Carlos Santana (2 years/$17.5M), center-fielder Michael Taylor (1 year/$1.75M), and reliever Greg Holland (1 year/$2.75M). The front office has also brought infielder Hanser Alberto and former Royals pitchers Ervin Santana and Wade Davis in on minor league contracts in the hopes that one or more of them cracks the opening day roster.
Dayton Moore must believe the progress of his young pitching prospects and current roster are ready to transcend from the basement to the penthouse. These free agent signings and the trade acquisition of Andrew Benintendi places the projected win total for the Royals in 2021 at 79 wins.
I have to believe Moore and company project the Royals for 84 to 85 wins in 2021. If progress and health hold true, the Royals will be right there in the hunt for an AL Central title.
The core of the roster is on expiring contracts with Danny Duffy, Jorge Soler, and Salvador Perez becoming free agents after 2021. Whit Merrifield will have his final year in 2023 (club option worth $6.7M). So now is the time to take advantage of their talents before they leave. The next shot at this run for success could be in 2023 and 2024 if the Royals talented farm system continues to progress.
The Kansas City Royals are going for it all in 2021 and 2022. What more could you ask for out of a front office?