Kansas City Royals: 5 Reasons the Royals Will Make the Playoffs in 2014
Last season, the Kansas City Royals turned in their best season to date in this millennium.
KC was over .500 for the first time in 10 years and was also in the AL wild-card hunt all the way up until the last week of the regular season.
With another year of experience for these young Royals in the books and another offseason almost over, I see this team getting to the playoffs this season.
Here are my reasons why they will finally break through in 2014.
Another Solid Offseason
Once again, Royals general manager Dayton Moore has turned in another nice offseason for his organization.
Moore has managed to add veterans Omar Infante and Norichika Aoki to not only bolster KC's offense, but also improve their defense even more in the process.
He has also added veteran starting pitcher Jason Vargas to help make up for the loss of Ervin Santana in the rotation.
With Santana still unsigned (as of the time of writing), there is still a small chance that Kansas City can still lure Santana back for another season.
If this happens, it would likely be the proverbial icing on the cake to what has already been a very productive offseason for the Royals.
Last year, the Royals boasted one of the best defenses in baseball.
In fact, they had three players that were awarded Gold Gloves after the season, including left fielder Alex Gordon.
This year shouldn't be any different—KC will likely be even better on D with the arrival of Infante and Aoki.
With the addition of these two, and the emergence of Salvador Perez at catcher, I expect this defense to play a huge part in the Royals clinching their first playoff berth in 29 years.
A Talented Nucleus of Hitters
Although this offense is not likely to overpower teams this year with home runs, it's a solid unit in many other ways.
With Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler, Mike Moustakas, Norchika Aoki, Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez, the talent is certainly there for this Royals offense to flourish.
If Butler and "Moose" can improve on their seasons from last year, this hitting attack will be much improved for Kansas City.
In the end, the Royals should be a better hitting team in '14. They will reap the benefits from this when they make the postseason.
There aren't many players on this current Royals roster who are more important to this team in the 2014 season than ace starting pitcher James Shields.
Shields, who was acquired in a trade from Tampa Bay last offseason, is coming off a season where he posted an impressive 3.15 ERA and won 13 games for Kansas City.
His strong season not only helped give his club one of the best team ERAs in the league, but he also played a major part in the Royals' first winning season in a decade.
"Big Game" James' past accomplishments and veteran leadership will be paramount for this franchise's success going forward.
The Royals are fortunate to have arguably the best closer in baseball on their current roster.
His name is Greg Holland. When he comes in in the ninth and his team is in the lead, he is about as automatic as it gets.
The former West Carolina star racked up a franchise record 47 saves last year in just 50 attempts.
He features three above-average pitches in his arsenal and will be counted on again to anchor an already solid 'pen for the Royals in 2014.