The Kansas City Royals are winding down another losing season in 2012. And Monday night's 6-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers is another reminder of just how far away this team is from winning the American League Central—which is exactly what Miguel Cabrera and Co. were able to do with the victory.
The Royals cannot compete with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers or the Chicago Cubs when it comes to luring in big names through free agency. In addition, the losing culture in Kansas City is making it increasingly difficult for the team to even vie against the lesser, more frugal franchises as well.
That fact makes it imperative that the Royals build most of the roster from within.
Injuries and bad luck have certainly played parts in causing the Royals to be mired in an unrelenting string of mediocrity. But there still seems to be a feeling that this franchise is headed in the right direction and is just a few pieces away from taking that next step.
However, if the Royals are indeed close, what must happen for winning to become the norm again in Kansas City? How can General Manager Dayton Moore take what fans have witnessed over the past couple of decades and turn it into a team that can be in the position that the Tigers are in right now?
While the move may not be too popular, the next wave of the youth movement could be used to acquire front-line starting pitching.
Top-of-the-rotation arms are thought to be the only thing holding this team back.
Kansas City already possesses a strong bullpen and a young, up-and-coming group of positional players. The inability to elbow their way through free agency could force the Royals to part with top prospects Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi to beef up the starting staff.
Jeff Francoeur's struggles this season should have kicked the door wide open for Myers to arrive in Kansas City. However, inane service time rules and a stubborn general manager prevented that from happening. And the hesitation raises questions as to whether Myers will ever even play for the Royals.
Odorizzi's situation also brings up an interesting point.
With Kansas City's recent string of bad luck when it comes to the health and development of its brightest pitching prospects, would it make more sense to cut bait when the iron is hot?
Why not try to flip guys that will presumably stall in the Royals organization for players that other teams have already developed?
While that may not be a sure-fire method either, it is much less frustrating than seeing the likes of Luke Hochevar radically underachieve, Mike Montgomery hit the proverbial wall or Danny Duffy blow out his elbow.
Though Myers is a legit, middle-of-the-order bat and Odorizzi could be a solid No. 3 starter, this team can eventually compete without either. What it must have, however, is a staff ace.
The Royals can't buy or develop their own starting pitching. If Myers and Odorizzi can bring in a No. 1 starter via trade, it must be done.