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Acquired: Alcides Escobar, Jeff Francis, Vin Mazzaro, Melky Cabrera, Jeff Francoeur, Lorenzo Cain, Jake Odorizzi
Lost: Zack Greinke, David DeJesus, Gil Meche, Rick Ankiel, Jose Guillen, Kyle Farnsworth
Closer Joakim Soria has been a bright spot in dark times for the Royals franchise. In four years with the Royals, three of them spent as the full-time closer, Soria's racked up 132 saves and an incredible 2.01 ERA along with a K/9 rate of 9.9. Soria's one of the top closers in the game, which led to rampant rumors that he might potentially be on the move during this past offseason. Dayton Moore knows that he has something special in Soria, though, and intends to keep him as the anchor at the back of Kansas City's bullpen for a long time coming.
Now that Zack Greinke has been dealt to Milwaukee and Gil Meche has hung up his uninspiring spikes, the Kansas City rotation is clearly a weak spot on this team. Although the Royals have a lot of promising arms in their farm system such as Danny Duffy, John Lamb, new acquisition Jake Odorizzi and more, the Royals are currently running with a rotation of Luke Hochevar, Kyle Davies, Vin Mazzaro, Jeff Francis, and Sean O'Sullivan. That's not a set of guys who will make opposing hitters shiver in their cleats very often. Hochevar's a former top prospect who's starting to live up to expectations, but the rest of the bunch doesn't have much to show for their careers, long or short.
Alex Gordon was once the future of Kansas City baseball. He was going to be the next George Brett for the Kauffman Stadium faithful. Now, with Mike Moustakas getting ready to ascend to the hot corner, Gordon is continuing his attempt to redeem himself with the Royals as the starting left fielder. Reminiscent of when Ryan Braun was shifted to left by the Milwaukee Brewers, Gordon is on what might be his last chance to make a name in Kansas City. Over 242 at bats last season, Gordon hit .215/8/20, numbers that won't light up the baseball world any time soon. The Royals are ramping up to try and bring a boatload of prospects in over the next few years and become AL Central contenders. For Alex Gordon to be a part of that push, he'll have to have a solid, if not stellar, 2011.
The Kansas City Royals always seem like a team that's constantly rebuilding. They get high draft picks, top prospects, and yet haven't had a finish better than fourth place in the last decade. That won't change this year, but hopefully, for the sake of parity, it will soon.