Kansas City Royals: 5 Most Exciting Options for Offensive Upgrade
Kansas City Royals: 5 Most Excitng Options for Offensive Upgrade
The Kansas City Royals are looking to upgrade offensively this offseason, most likely at either second base or right field. The club has a lot of options to pursue this offseason, but just as many questions to answer within the current roster. Only one thing is for certain: the Royals need a power bat to give themselves a markedly better chance at a playoff appearance next year.
Today, we're looking at the more intriguing options out there. These are the moves that would bring immediate excitement to the fan base and guaranteed improvement to the lineup. Some of them may seem like pie-in-the-sky dream scenarios, but as I've mentioned ad nauseam, a power upgrade must be the Royals' primary focus. With this team on the cusp of perennial success, there should be no reason not to consider these bigger names an option. Obviously, the money it would take to bring in any of these proven hitters would take a significant chunk of Kansas City's payroll. Nonetheless, with many questions still left unanswered, plenty of money is still left unspent.
Success quickly evolves into a will to win, and that will quickly becomes desperation in the realm of professional sports. If that hunger to reach the playoffs is being felt all the way up the ladder to the Glass family, some of these seemingly unlikely deals may be closer to reality than most jaded Royals fans are ready to admit. This is a fan base that seemed to get punished for their optimism in years prior, but penning a deal with any of the following players would prove to almost everyone that the time for negativity has long passed.
5. Ryan Ludwick
Here we have a veteran with playoff experience and big power numbers. Ryan Ludwick averages 25 homers and 92 RBIs in 162 games, and a strong 2012 would indicate that the 35 year old is showing no signs of slowing down. Ludwick would significantly improve the Royals' ability to score runs, and he could actually come at a reasonable price. If the Cincinnati Reds are willing to take on some of his $17.5 million contract over the next two years, KC could add a reliable power bat to the lineup for a sum that doesn't break the bank.
4. Mike Morse
Thanks to some injury concerns, right-handed slugger Mike Morse could also come with a relatively low price tag. His 162-game average would add 23 HRs and 77 RBIs, but injuries have stopped him from getting consistent playing time since 2011. That year, Morse went yard 31 times for the Washington Nationals, with a .303 average, 95 RBIs and 36 doubles in 146 games played. The Baltimore Orioles don't intend to re-sign him, and he'll be hungry to prove himself and get consistent starting time. The magic number for a one-year contract should be no more than $7 million. Morse is undergoing arthroscopic surgery this week to fix a bone outgrowth in his left wrist, but should be fully healed in six to eight weeks.
3. Shin-Soo Choo
Shin-Soo Choo could be mean a great deal to the Royals' 2014 lineup. Choo put up impressive numbers for doubles and home runs, with 21 homers and 34 doubles last year. His RBI totals may seem lacking compared to others on this list, but that should improve with a team that hits for a higher batting average (the Reds' team average ranked 18th in MLB this year, and the Royals were ninth.) The Royals could play Choo in center or right, leaving the options open to experiment further with their long list of talented outfielders.
2. Jacoby Ellsbury
Yes, I know this is an unlikely dream scenario. Jacoby Ellsbury will rake in some serious dough this offseason, and the Royals would be giving up much of their payroll to bring him to Kansas City. All that aside, he's a perfect fit. When healthy, Ellsbury's put up consistent, All-Star-caliber numbers and plays great defense. He can cause havoc on the basepaths, and he will fit in very well with a clubhouse full of young players that are dedicated to win. Whatever KC would have to pay to get him here, it would be hard to imagine it not being well worth the investment.
1. Carlos Beltran
Here it is, the ultimate answer. Bringing Carlos Beltran back to Kansas City would pump this fan base up in a way that nothing else could. Beltran, now 36-years-old, says he intends to play 3-4 more seasons before retiring. With consistent starting time, Beltran would project to lead the team in home runs and RBI. The price will be high, but the expectations for this team with Beltran in right field would be even higher, and not one single fan would argue with the decision. Who doesn't want to see Carlos cement his bid for the Hall of Fame in the place where his prolific career took off, as the Royals achieve relevancy for the first time in decades?