With a 35-42 record, and losers of three straight, the Kansas City Royals still sit just six games back of the first place Chicago White Sox in the American League Central. Well within striking distance, the Royals could try on a different hat heading into the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline and actually become buyers.
While a wild card spot isn’t likely for any team that calls the AL Central home, winning the division does at least get you invited to the dance. And recent history has shown (2011 St. Louis Cardinals) that anything can happen once you are out on the dance floor.
An attempt to win the division by making moves midseason proves two things: 1) the 2012 season was the bridge year all along before the Royals are ready to make a Tampa Bay Rays-like jump into contention (circa 2008) and 2) that management and ownership are indeed intent on turning the franchise back into the perennial winner it was in the 1970s and 80s.
The Royals’ minor league system has been depleted recently as its talented youth has gradually made its way to Kansas City. As expectations take shape, only outfielder Wil Myers and starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi are likely to make any impact in the near future on the big league roster.
Since Myers and Odorizzi would be the hot names floated around in any trade talks with the Royals acting as the aggressor, it makes any move to improve the team for the stretch run of the 2012 season highly unlikely.
However, with about a month left before needing to make that decision, there is still time to jockey for position. Assuming the Royals are still hanging around the division come the end of July, here are four moves that could help them win the AL Central in 2012.