2018 Royals: Kansas City Will Return to Rear of AL Central

alex gordon

Willie Bee

Thursday, March 1, 2018 12:59 PM GMT

Thursday, Mar. 1, 2018 12:59 PM GMT

MLB futures suggest a tough season ahead for the rebuilding Kansas City Royals, who are just a couple of seasons removed from a World Series title.

The winter of discontent in baseball was headlined by the players crying about not getting $100+ million contracts and the selling of – and subsequent roster selloff – the Miami Marlins. In the case of the Marlins, who dumped salary several times in the Jeffrey Loria era, the bulk of the press was because Derek Jeter is now the face of the front office. In the case of the slow free-agent market, I invite you to check how many of the holdouts are Scott Boras clients.

Not as much attention was given to the players who have left – or are leaving – the Kansas City Royals, as well as how they were unwilling (incapable?) of growing their salary obligations.

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Royals have many new players this spring. Watch this video to put faces with names https://t.co/2Igh3lfGGe

— The Kansas City Star (@KCStar) February 24, 2018

Big Chunk Of Offense Must Be Replaced

In the simplest of layman terms, no pun intended, this is a franchise that shot its wad a couple of years ago and is now waiting for the next round of moneyball Viagra to kick in. The potent back-to-back teams that won the 2014-15 AL pennants and ’15 World Series are gone, replaced by limp showings around .500 the past two seasons. This year, Royals MLB futures include 70-71 on the win totals and up to 25/1 just to win the AL Central, which puts them behind even the Chicago White Sox, who are in total rebuild mode.

The most publicized subtractions were 1B Eric Hosmer, who signed with the San Diego Padres, and OF Lorenzo Cain, now in Milwaukee. Also still a free agent as of this writing is 3B Mike Moustakas. Losing that trio would affect any lineup, especially one that finished near the bottom of the American League in scoring like KC did in 2017. A few over-the-hill veterans remain, like Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez, to guide youngsters coming in, and the Royals did offset Hosmer’s loss by signing Lucas Duda. It still puts a lot of pressure on 2B Whit Merrifield plus outfielders Paulo Orlando and Jorge Bonifacio to produce, and that alone could make the Royals a strong consideration for going ‘under’ the MLB odds.

Who Will Serve In Middle & Setup Relief Roles?

Assuming good health, which is always a dangerous assumption, the rotation could become the strength of the team. Danny Duffy, who had minor surgery on his left elbow, was eased into spring training with veterans Ian Kennedy and Jason Hammel behind him in the starting mix. Jakob Junis is coming off a fine rookie season.

That foursome might have to be the strength of the club, given the expected drop-off in offense and a complete mystery in the bullpen behind closer Kelvin Herrera. Doing an outstanding job bridging from the starters to Herrera last year were Mike Minor, Joakim Soria, Peter Moylan and Scott Alexander; none are back in Kansas City.

Forget a division title or even making the playoffs as a wild card. This team seems destined for 90+ losses, and I’m willing to bet ‘under’ the win total for my free baseball pick.

Free MLB Pick: Under 71 WinsBest Line Offered: Bookmaker
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