This series is predicated on educated guesses, past history of the team/general manager, rumors that have been out there for a while, and actions that I feel could be taken. This exercise is me playing GM to inspire conversation and a new way of approaching things. Moves that I complete as previous GMs of teams will carry over here. Trades only include principal, significant players.
Dayton Moore is not happy. The general manager of the Kansas City Royals has decreed that it is time to contend.
"We're at a point now where you will never, ever hear me say again that we have young players who are improving. You will never, ever hear me say again that we are rebuilding. That stuff is over. I'm sick of all that."
The Royals squeaked past the Detroit Tigers to finish fourth in the AL Central at 75-87. With the Tigers and Cleveland Indians expected to rebound, the Royals will have quite a fight on their hands to finish above .500 in 2009. They'll certainly try, though, and their marquee acquisition will go a long way towards getting them there.
Kansas City Royals sign shortstop Rafael Furcal.
It's long been rumored that the Royals will go after Furcal hard as they need a shortstop and can move Mike Aviles to second base. I have Furcal heading to the Royals, beating out the Toronto Blue Jays in a bidding war with the Los Angeles Dodgers needing to pare payroll and invest their dollars in what they feel are wiser investments.
Furcal was an amazing story at the beginning of the season before falling to an injury. He's returned in the postseason and should continue being a key player. Furcal will enter his age 31 season with quite the value attached to him. The Royals, needing punch in their offense, should make every attempt possible to nab Furcal.
Kansas City Royals acquire catcher Miguel Montero from Arizona Diamondbacks for Mark Teahen, John Buck and Robinson Tejeda.
The Royals need to find a better catcher than they have in John Buck, who boasts a career line of .234/.298/.398. With the Diamondbacks so enamored of the job Chris Snyder has done for them, the D'Backs can dangle Montero. They should nab this offer which will give them a solid backup catcher, a pitcher long on potential who started his career well before taking a nosedive and now seems to be on the upswing again, and Teahen, who can play first, third, left or right for the Diamondbacks. Teahen would be a tremendously valuable piece for the Diamondbacks as the utility guy and can help protect against injury. The Diamondbacks would also likely get a minor leaguer in this deal.
Montero, long a top prospect, deserves to get a crack at starting and the Royals should hand him the job, but should bring in competition and a capable backup for the season.
Kansas City Royals sign catcher Paul Lo Duca.
Lo Duca has intimated that he is willing to take less dollars, perhaps even a minor league contract, if he is guaranteed a shot to compete for the starting catcher's job. The Royals should be more than happy to give him that guarantee and privately pencil him into the backup catcher's slot.
Kansas City Royals sign utility player Rich Aurilia.
You can think of Aurilia as an older version of Mark Teahen, albeit Teahen also has potential as his couple torrid months in 2006 can attest to. Aurilia will provide nice veteran depth and should be available on the cheap. With Mark Grudzielanek likely departing as a free agent, the Royals will need a backup infielder. Why not Aurilia?
Kansas City Royals sign outfielder Bobby Abreu.
Abreu is looking for a three-year commitment, which should scare off a number of teams (namely the Los Angeles Angels, who I had getting Abreu before the news that Abreu wanted three years). For a team looking to make a splash, contend, and have a quality hitter, the Royals should have no qualms about giving Abreu two guaranteed years plus an easily vested option for a third year. Abreu may not be the power hitter he displayed at the Home Run Derby a few years ago anymore, but he's certainly a very good outfielder and the Royals would not have to give up their first round pick by signing Abreu (or Furcal, for that matter).
Kansas City Royals sign first baseman Kevin Millar.
The Royals also need to bring in a first-baseman, as they will lose Mark Teahen and it is an exercise in futility to hand the full-time job to Ross Gload. Kila Ka'aihue is an extremely interesting name, but to contend, the Royals need more. Millar is a fantastic clubhouse guy who can help bring the clubhouse together after the team had to suffer through a full year of Jose Guillen as the "leader." Millar hit 20 homers this past year, so he still has some value and would come cheaply. This signing will also give the Royals flexibility to either acquire a better first baseman later in the season or sign one for 2010.
The Royals already have the makings of a great pitching staff and I don't think they should make any significant moves on that end. With Gil Meche and Zack Greinke heading the staff, they have a great top two. Brian Bannister can run hot and cold but is still a serviceable pitcher while Kyle Davies earned a shot with his late-season impression. It's too early to give up on Luke Hochevar, and the team has readymade replacements in the bullpen to step in if needed: John Bale springs to mind. They should bring in a few veterans to compete for a slot or two, but no one significant.
These moves may not get them to the promised land of the playoffs, but it should get them a lot closer. Another full year with their young pitching staff should really put into perspective what they have, and their offense sans first base has the makings of being very good.
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