Free-agent slugger Carlos Beltran is in Kansas City meeting with the Royals front office. The club is hoping for a big-bang reunion with Beltran, who began his career in Kansas City in 1998. He was traded to the Astros during the 2004 season. He batted .287 and compiled a .835 OPS for the Royals. Most impressively he produced four seasons of 100 runs and 100 RBI in a five-year span from 1999-2003. Beltran arrived in Kansas City on Monday and is staying through Tuesday to meet with club officials and listen to the Royals’ pitch to have a homecoming with the right fielder. The Royals most likely will need to be willing to go to three years to sign Beltran. The Mariners also have a big interest in adding a bat like Beltran’s and are expected to make a serious offer to Beltran to get him to be their designated hitter. ESPN reported Beltran has a three-year offer on the table for $48 million, though it did not specify which team made such an offer.
The leader in the Beltran sweepstakes is the Yankees because of their payroll and chances to make the playoffs. The main reason Beltran is still a major free agent at the ago of 36 is because he brings a clutch bat that can push these teams into the playoffs. The Royals have seen in first hand how important Beltran can be in a lineup. One thing they haven’t been able to see is what he can do with hitters around him such as Billy Butler and Alex Gordon. Signing Beltran will help Butler and Gordon’s RBI numbers because Beltran gives protection to the middle of the lineup. At some point fans and front office executives will have to worry about carrying two designated hitters on the same team in aging Beltran and Butler. The Royals may be able to play Beltran in right field for this season but in 2015 he will be most effective as a DH. I personally wanted the Royals to pull the trigger for Dexter Fowler for one of the relievers. This trade made sense because the Royals needed another outfielder and had a surplus of relievers. The Astros were able to jump on the low asking price the Rockies put out there on Fowler. The best-case scenario would be the Royals sign Beltran and in 2015 they decide to move Butler for a needed piece at that time. The only way this signing makes the Royals better is if both Butler and Beltran are in the lineup together for the first two years. In addition, if the Royals can’t make that work, the return for Butler should be high because of his consistency at the plate. While the Royals will lose their draft pick to the Cardinals for signing Beltran, they will gain a draft pick from who ever signs Ervin Santana. Lastly, The Royals lineup next year will look like this… LF Gordon, RF Beltran, 1B Hosmer, DH Butler, C Perez, CF Cain, 3B Moustakas, SS Escobar, 2B TBD. This lineup now puts fear in opposing pitching staffs. If the Royals are able to sign Carlos Beltran it will most likely be their biggest free agent signing since David Cone. The cheers at opening day when Beltran takes the field will be the loudest I will hear at the K in my short life so far.
On most teams the veterans are 35-38 years old, but for the Kansas City Royals, Jeff Francoeur at 28, is the leader of the clubhouse. Frenchy has the challenge of leading the youngest team in baseball to the playoffs. Dayton Moore and the Royals saw the excellent Francoeur did for the young squad last year and rewarded him to a 2-year deal worth $12.5 million. While this may be overpaying for the stats he may put up, his leadership abilities will be priceless when showing the “kids” how to go about doing their job of playing baseball at a championship level.
When GM Dayton Moore signed Francoeur to a 1-year deal with the Royals, he had an idea of the productivity he might receive. Along with the Melky Cabrera signing, Moore cashed in with the two 1-year deals. While the Royals had an idea of what Francoeur could do on and off the field for the club, I don’t think anyone expected the stats Frenchy managed to put up. He managed to surprise almost everyone by hitting .285 with 20 homeruns and 87 runs batted in.
Leadership can be described in numerous ways and Francoeur would fit every mold of leadership. He demands respect of the young players and unlike some leaders who are hard on others, Francoeur is an easygoing guy who leads mostly by action. When watching Frenchy play you can’t help but notice the little kid in him. He is actually doing what he always dreamed of. How many people can say they are getting paid to do what they always dreamed of. With the pressure surrounding the prospects that the Royals have, Francoeur shows that it’s just a game and the young players need to stay loose but still play hard. Francoeur is a huge fan favorite because he is not flashy; he just gets the job done.
I expect Frenchy to duplicate numbers close to the ones showed earlier in his career. I see nearly everything staying the same except the outfield assists; teams won’t be likely to run on him again after this throw.
When most fans think of key players for the Royals their first thought will be Eric Hosmer, but no fan will forget what Francoeur means to the success of players such as Hosmer and Moustakas. Fans have high expectations due to the weak central division the Royals are in. The addition of Prince Fielder clearly puts the Detroit Tigers as the contender, I just hope the Royals do not fit the mold of a “playoff pretender”.
Last year the Royals spent $36,126,400 on their payroll. (the least in the MLB) The Yankees spent roughly $200 million dollars. That is roughly 5.5 times the Royals payroll. This year the Royals are expected to add around $22 million to $58 million after Alex Gordon and the Royals agree on an amount. Currently the highest paid Royals is Billy Butler at $8 million. After reviewing the past of the Royals and other statistics, David Glass can surely reach a cap of $70 million. At the beginning of the 2010 season the payroll was set at $72 million. A perfect fit to meet the payroll would be either Edwin Jackson or Roy Oswalt. The team could still have wiggle room because the signing of either pitcher will not even reach $70 million. After looking at the list of teams that are not spending, I have come to conclusion that in today’s day and age, a team must be in the top third in spending to have a realistic chance to win.
Although the main reason for this years low payroll is the youth. For example, the team’s best player, Eric Hosmer, is making the league minimum ($414,000). While the Royals do not have to worry about locking up Hosmer or Moustakas for the future yet, they need to have a blueprint for the future WITH these cornerstones.
I have great confidence in Dayton Moore because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can see the banners hanging. I can see the “K” filled with excitement. I can see the time when I can talk to my friends (even the ones that don’t like baseball) about the present Royals, not always having to look to the future but to be able to live in the present. The Chiefs and the Royals are the heart and soul of Kansas City.
While most fans have remained patient, some have broken that mold. Most fans are expecting this year to be the turn around year. I for one see this year being extremely promising but just another step on the stairs to greatness. With the division down as it is, I give the Tigers the edge over all contenders. Although Victor Martinez (the Tigers DH) will likely be out for the entire season, the Tigers have the experience and the talent to lock up the division.
All I am hoping for out of this season is to reach the next major checkpoint. The next checkpoint is to compete for the central division. I see that this young group of players can compete just as the Pittsburgh Pirates did last year. The greatest job Dayton Moore has done is creating competition among the team. For example, the bullpen could consist of a variety of faces. Also, Moore managed to keep the leadership that the team needed in Jeff Francoeur. The Royals have the youngest team in baseball. With the youth, KC fans can expect mistakes but also can expect the same feeling that came when Bo Jackson hit BOMB after BOMB into the fountains at Kauffman Stadium.
Although Moore has whiffed miserably with signings such as Jose Guillen (3 years $36 million) or Gill Meche (5 years $55 million). I still have complete confidence in his ability because of the product that will be on the field for next year. With the All-Star Game in Kansas City, this summer gives the Royals the chance to create excitement for the amazing fans of Kansas City.
Statistics come from http://www.stevetheump.com/Payrolls.htm
Sporting Kansas City Super Draft
For the third year in a row, Sporting Kansas City drafted a forward in the first round. Dom Dwyer, the Englishman, is a Generation adidas player and is thought to be one of the best forwards in this year’s draft. Dwyer has drawn comparisons to C.J. Sapong, last years draft pick. He only played one season with South Florida, but he was a two time All-American at the junior college level. Dwyer is a mix of speed and strength. Furthermore, he displayed quality finishing skills by scoring 16 goals in 21 games at South Florida. With a 4-3-3 system, Sporting can never have too many forwards. While they did not address the need in defense in the first round, Cyprian Hendrick was drafted in the second round. Hendrick was a center back for Coastal Carolina, where he was named the Big South Defensive Player of the Year. By drafting Dwyer, Sporting KC filled the final remaining international roster spot for the upcoming season.
Kansas City Royals
On Wednesday, the Kansas City Royals had their annual Awards Luncheon. Although, last year was not a great year, the luncheon brought light to the positives. The awards ranged from minor league players to the organizational personnel awards. Here is a list of what awards each player won.
- Alex Gordon won the Les Milgram player of the year award.
- Bruce Chen won the Pitcher of the year.
- Eric Hosmer notched the Joe Burke Special Achievement Award.
- Louis Lakey won the Dan Quisenberry Special Achievement Award (an outstanding member of the community).
- Eric Edelstein snatched the Matt Minker Award (an outstanding Minor League affiliate employee).
- Orlando Estevez won the Art Stewart Scout of the Year.
- Tim Melville won the Mike Sweeney Award for the player who best represents the organization.
- Anthony Seratelli won the Willie Wilson Baserunner of the Year Award.
- Mike Jirschele won the Dick Howser Player Development Person of the Year.
- Lorenzo Cain, the center fielder for next year, won the Frank White Defensive Player of the Year.
- Kelvin Herrera won the Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year Award.
- Johny Giavatella won the George Brett Hitter of the Year.
Campo gets complete control of Jayhawk’s D
The Kansas Jayhawks and Charlie Weis have added Veteran NFL and college coach Dave Campo less than a week after he left the Dallas Cowboys. Campo will also be in charge of coaching the Kansas defensive backs. Campo is most known for his time as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys (2000-02), he spent the past four seasons coaching the secondary in Dallas. Although the Cowboy’s secondary has been less than impressive this year, Campo has a resume that suggests he can have great success. He was also once a defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns. In addition to the Browns and Cowboys, Compo worked with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Campo spent the first 18 years of his coaching career at the college level, including two years under Jimmy Johnson at Miami where he won the national championship in 1987. He later followed Johnson to Dallas, where they teamed up to win six division titles and three Super Bowls.
As everyone knows, the Kansas Jayhawks were just 2-10 last season and 5-19 in the short Turner Gill era. Gill was fired after the season and replaced by Charlie Weis, who has had his fair share of success in the NFL.Weis made it clear during his introductory news conference that running backs coach, Reggie Mitchell, would have a job on his staff. He also kept Buddy Wyatt as defensive line coach. Charlie has remained solid to this decision. Weis has not wasted his time recruiting and hand picking his other assistant coaches. Ron Powlus, who served as his director of player development and later quarterbacks coach at Notre Dame. Powlus will be at the same position for Kansas.
As we continue to look at the Royals heading into Spring Training, this week we are taking a look at their bullpen. If you missed it, last week, we broke down the starting rotation. Although the starting rotation isn’t very strong, like last year, the bullpen should be one of the major strengths of the Royals. Usually the pitchers in the bullpen are the “unknowns” meaning most fans don’t really know who makes up the bullpen or what are each pitchers’ strengths and weaknesses.
However, this year will be different. We met most of the bullpen last year with guys like Tim Collins, Aaron Crow and Greg Holland. The bullpen even had a fan favorite, Tim Collins. Standing on the mound, Collins may be considered tall, but with a frame of 5’7” 170 lbs Collins appears to be in high school. The only All-Star from last year comes from the bullpen, and that all-star was Aaron Crow. The Royals bullpen was nearly untouchable last year. Aaron Crow, Greg Holland, and Louis Coleman led the dominate pen. In addition, there are three former all stars in the pen that Ned Yost can use when he is in a jam. These all-stars are Aaron Crow, Jonathan Broxton, and Joakim Soria.
Jonathan Broxton is the new addition from the Dodgers. Broxton weighs in at 300lbs. I’m assuming he has enjoyed the Kansas City barbecue (just look at him in the picture) . Last year Broxton was injured with a bruised elbow which held him out for nearly the whole year. Dayton Moore anticipated that Aaron Crow may earn himself a spot in the starting rotation subsequently he added the former all star in Broxton.
Last year, the Royals had a heavy bullpen with eight pitchers. This year the bullpen will consist of seven pitchers. The players that have a spot locked in are Jonathan Broxton, Greg Holland, Aaron Crow, and Joakim Soria. The others that will be battling for the last four spots are Tim Collins, Blake Wood, Vin Mazzaro, Mike Montgomery, Kelvin Herrera, Louis Coleman, and Jose Mijares. While Aaron Crow is suppose to try to compete for the starting rotation, I predict he will end up staying where he has had success: the bullpen.
Greg Holland has the “stuff” to be the future closer for the Kansas City Royals. With an ERA of 1.8 Holland deserves the title of “lights out.” I am hoping that he will be given a shot to become the closer. I want Joakim Soria to be traded for a starting pitcher. According to sources, Joakim Soria quit on the Royals for the last three weeks of the season. I would have liked to have seen a power thrower added to the bullpen. While Broxton has thrown in the upper 90’s, his velocity decreased last year. With a potential power thrower, Coach Yost would have another dynamic weapon to call upon in the later half of games.
While I do not expect the same lights out pitching we witnessed last year, I do expect pretty close dominance with the addition of Broxton and experience added to the young pitchers. If Broxton can remain healthy expect him to be the set up man for Soria. If Soria struggles like last year expect Holland, Crow, and Broxton to all receive their equal amount of chances to close games out.