The Royals are playing a very dangerous game right now. They are risking a big chunk of their future for a present that very few people found to be promising.
The Royals dealt the most desired prospect in all of baseball, Wil Myers, in a multiplayer trade that sent former Tampa Bay Rays James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City. Most writers, including Keith Law of ESPN, are calling it a major win for the Rays and a misguided move for the Royals.
Royals general manager Dayton Moore is putting his entire reputation and possibly his job on the line in. He essentially has said "enough prospects and looking to the future. We need a present."
Jeremy Guthrie and Earvin Santana will join Shields and Davis in the rotation. They still do not have a rotation that could be considered fearsome and they rank far behind the two time defending Division Champion Detroit Tigers in pitching.
The best pitcher still available as a free agent right now is Kyle Lohse. The former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher had one of the best year in his career that spans over 12 seasons. His 16-3 record resulted in a .842 win percentage, the best in the National League. His ERA was 2.86 over 211 innings. His ERA+ was 134 as he finished seventh in the Cy Young vote.
The 2011 World Champion has been solid for three of the last five seasons. Lohse would slide in as the number two behind Shields, giving them two good innings eaters at the top of the rotation, allowing their talented bullpen to avoid overuse.
But this is where Moore needs to push his chips to the center. There is no use in going half hearted in improving the starting staff. It has already cost the organization the best hitter in the minor leagues
According to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, the Royals tight payroll might be capped off at $70 million. That flies in the face of the idea of putting a winner on the field now.
Moore will have to convince owner David Glass to open up the wallet enough to bring Lohse across the state of Missouri.
A full ballpark, increased TV ratings and merchandise sales can only come around if the product is a winner. And Moore is betting on pitching being the key for that turn around.
Kyle Lohse is still out there. Time to make another move.