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Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on January 25, 2008
Rank: Dead last in the AL Central - 27.0 games back
Home Park: Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium
C- Miguel Olivo - Free Agent from Marlins
3B - Alberto Callaspo - Trade from Diamondbacks
OF - Jose Guillen - Free Agent from Mariners
SP - Brett Tomko - Free Agent from Padres
RP - Ron Mahay - Free Agent from Braves
RP - Yasuhiko Yabuta - Free Agent from Japan
Looking for Greener Pastures Elsewhere:
C – Jason LaRue - Free Agent to Cardinals
OF - Emil Brown - Free Agent to A’s
SP - Billy Buckner - Traded to Diamondbacks
RP - David Riske - Free Agent to Brewers
C - John Buck
1B - Ross Gload
RP - Jimmy Gobble
RP - Luke Hudson
SP - Jorge De La Rosa
Likely Gone but still unsigned:
OF - Reggie Sanders
DH - Mike Sweeney
SP - John Thomson
SP - Odalis Perez
The Royals are heading into another season which is bound to be a disappointment. A lack of star power as well as a lack of front tier players promise to make this an agonizing season for Royals fans.
That’s not to say that Royals fans won’t have some things to cheer about. The team has several young players, a rotation that could develop into something competitive and a slight chance to improve on last year’s record.
The addition of Jose Guillen and his steroid enhanced physique should start the Royals out on the wrong foot as he’s destined to miss 15 games due to suspension for that steroid and thus deprive the team of it’s best hitter for almost a tenth of the season. But even without the suspension it’s unlikely that the Royals with Guillen are better than the Royals were with Reggie Sanders and a part time player named Mike Sweeney.
The Royals have some potential in their rotation where number two pitcher Gil Meche and number three Brian Bannister are waiting to see if Zack Grienke can finally step up to fill the first chair. The two remaining spots will be filled by Luke Hudson, Luke Hochevar or Brett Tomko. That could be a decent core and improve upon last year’s numbers when they were the seventh best in the AL. If that really happens the Royals with a few signings could think of contending in 2009-10.
The offense even with Jose Guillen is a weak one. Yes the team has several decent players in the light hitting group which includes David DeJesus, Mark Teahen the free swinging John Buck, and up can coming players Alex Gordon and Billy Butler, but on the whole this team will struggle to match up offensively with anyone in the AL.
CF - David DeJesus
2B - Mark Grudzielanek
RF - Mark Teahen
LF - Jose Guillen
DH - Billy Butler
3B - Alex Gordon
C - John Buck
1B - Ross Gload
SS - Tony Pena Jr.
SP1 – Zack Grienke
SP2 – Gil Meche
SP3 – Brian Bannister
SP4 – Brett Tomko
SP5 – Luke Hudson
CL – Joakim Soria
Keys to Success:
This team is about youth and untapped depths of talent that until now had never manifest itself in any form other than in sporadic but disjointed spurts. For the Royals to surprise anyone and show any major improvement all the pieces would have to come together. The young and oft heralded players who’ve never lived up to expectations (Zack Grienke, David DeJesus, Alex Gordon, John Buck and Mark Teahen) will all need to come up with career seasons. That’s far from impossible, but the odds are against it.
The Royals will once again end up in the cellar of the Central and might well contend to be the worst team in the AL. They will however see some of their players step up and strut their stuff. The pitching staff however will be the key to this team’s future and will be worth watching not just to see if the Royals have hope for the future - but so we can speculate on what teams their best young pitchers will be traded to when the Royals decide they won’t pay more than league minimum in a couple of years.