Today is the last day of the Kansas City Royals season. It seems like Opening Day was just a few weeks ago and yet the summer is over. It’s not been the best season and the end in particular has been a bit shambolic. Injuries have necessitated early shutdowns for Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas and a 2-7 run has made ninety losses a distinct possibility. But still it is sad to see the season end. By all accounts it has been a long year and yet it feels now like it has been very, very short.
The Royals now have the off-season in which to make various moves to try to improve the team for a push for at least .500 baseball next season. The most obvious need is for starting pitching which has let us down badly this year. The Royals ought to do all they can to re-sign Jeremy Guthrie and ideally another fairly big money free agent. (Zack Greinke is an intriguing, if unlikely, possibility.) They would also like to settle who will play center field and bat lead-off. Lorenzo Cain has seemed like the likely candidate, but Jarrod Dyson is a possibility as well especially with Cain’s injuries. This is a matter likely to be settled in Spring Training, though an off-season deal for a third option or to send one of Cain or Dyson away would also settle the matter.
Apart from that there isn’t much that is pressing. The Royals are well settled at most positions and need only more consistent performances. I doubt there will be any ‘blockbuster’ trades and history suggests against a major free agent signing either. It might be a very quiet winter indeed.
In a way it is a good thing that the season is over; tomorrow we are 0-0 again. But still this is a sad day. For all the fun and excitement of the playoffs, the fact is that the winter starts tomorrow for the Royals and the Kinks put it best in their song ‘End of the Season’: ‘Back in the scrum on a wet afternoon / Down in the mud dreaming of flowers in June’. It is time, for five dark and cold months, to turn one’s attention to rugby and football and eagerly await the spring. There are only cricket’s winter tours to remind one of the summer. Next year might be better for the Royals. Might be. One must always hope, but it is a long way off and any number of things might happen between now and 1 April at US Cellular Field. In the meantime one must get out the coats and extra blankets: ‘Winter is here, close of play’.