The Kansas City Royals Try To Improve In The '09 Season

Jordan LanningCorrespondent IFebruary 2, 2009

This offseason has been very exciting and eventful for the Kansas City Royals. The Royals have made great moves to improve the ballclub and they could have the highest expectations they've had in years.

The offense should improve greatly with the trade acquisitions of Coco Crisp and Mike Jacobs. With David DeJesus, Jose Guillen, Crisp, and Mark Teahen crowded in the outfield, they should be set.

The infield could be a question mark. Young players such as Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Alberto Callaspo, and Mike Aviles are still only in their first three years in the big leagues, so there could be some growing pains.

However, with Gordon and Butler due for a huge season and Aviles coming off of a great rookie season, the infield could turn out to be solid.

Jacobs and Guillen will most likely have the best power numbers.  Crisp and DeJesus are projected to have the most stolen bases on the team. The offense should be greatly improved from last year.

The pitching has gone nowhere but up. With a solid ace in Gil Meche, and Zack Greinke as the future ace, the front end of the starting rotation looks good.

The back end could be hard to decide this spring, with Luke Hochevar, Brian Bannister, Horacio Ramirez, and Kyle Davies battling it out for the final three spots. I would like to see Hochevar get in just because he was the former No. 1 pick in the draft, but at this point, who knows?

Right now, it looks like Meche, Greinke, Hochevar, Bannister, and Ramirez will be the starters, and Davies will start the season in the bullpen.

The bullpen looks to be set, with one of the best closers in the league in Joakim Soria, along with Kyle Farnsworth, Davies, and Doug Weachter, just to name a few.

If the pitching produces as well as we think and with the offense coming along, this Royals' team could be the best we have had this century. With only one other winning team this century, it won't be too much to ask.

I honestly will be disappointed if the Royals don't finish above .500.