The Detroit Tigers have made more waves this offseason than the Kansas City Royals, but the futures of these division rivals are always connected. KC won’t be taken seriously throughout MLB until they can contend for the AL Central with the Tigers, who have cultivated success through dominating that division. Detroit has now lost two of its lineup’s biggest bats, presumably in an effort to re-sign last year’s AL Cy Young winner, Max Scherzer. What will this mean for the Royals’ chances in 2014?
Depending on how the Royals spend the rest of their cash, it could mean quite a lot. An offensive upgrade is crucial for KC, and a handful of worthwhile free agent bats are still available. Detroit’s lineup for 2014 isn’t set in stone, but we do know it will be without the impact of Prince Fielder or Jhonny Peralta. Prince gave the Tigers 106 RBI, 25 HR and 36 doubles, and Peralta hit .303 with 30 doubles, 11 homers and 55 RBI in just 107 games.
Peralta will be directly replaced with an impressive defender and unproven batter in Jose Iglesias. If Iglesias records the same average next year that he recorded in 46 games last season that will account for a .044 point decrease at that position. Ian Kinsler is no slouch, to say the least, but it will be difficult for him to offer the same kind of production as Fielder. Kinsler has never recorded as many doubles, homers and RBI in a single season as Prince had last year. In fact, his all-time high in RBI is still 20 less than Fielder’s total from 2013.
It could be decades before the Royals have a better offense on paper than Detroit; it just isn’t their style. Thanks to these changes in Detroit, though, one big free agent signing could shrink the gap significantly. I only hope David Glass and Dayton Moore are thinking long and hard about how amazing it would be to bring back Carlos Beltran.
C’mon, Dayton. My Kansas City Chiefs just suffered two painful losses after starting the season off in grand fashion. Fans in KC could use some good news this week.