As the 2020 season comes to a close, the Kansas City Royals have to address the elephant in the room this offseason. The team showed signs of life in 2020, however, at times they showed they were not able to contend with the best of the best. The club must improve and answer a few questions this offseason to become a better ballclub and that will show throughout the next couple of months.
Jorge Soler Extension?
Last year, OF Jorge Soler and the Kansas City Royals signed a one-year deal for $7.3 million. This gave the Royals control over the power-hitting righty for another season. However, this offseason, Soler will go into an arbitration hearing then become a free agent in 2022. The Royals may want to lock up one of the hottest bats in the lineup for years to come and give Soler a contract extension unlike the one-year deal last year.
Who Will Become Free Agents?
There are a handful of Royals who will be hitting the market during the offseason. RHP Ian Kennedy, RHP Greg Holland, and RHP Matt Harvey are the three pitchers who will be hitting the market this winter. It has already been said publicly that the Royals will not be giving Kennedy or Holland qualifying offers.
Despite this, don’t be surprised to see the Royals bring back one of these guys to fill out a very young bullpen. As for Matt Harvey, it seems that the ship has sailed but the Royals could sign him back on another minor league deal. He started a few games in 2020, but later moved into the bullpen has he continued to struggle to find his old form.
Bubba Starling’s Future
The Royals are losing LF Alex Gordon due to retirement, however, the outfield is still very crowded with young talent. Guys like Nick Heath, Franchy Cordero, and Edward Olivares are going to see playing time, however, Bubba Starling is in limbo with the club currently. He has yet to show he can hit Major League pitching but has shown he has a very good arm to play in the outfield. He is out of options, so the Royals cannot send him down. Spring Training in 2021 will be a key month for these young outfielders.
Currently, the Royals have 11 players set for arbitration hearings and you can expect some players to be non-tendered. The 11 players who are going to be in arbitration hearings are OF Franchy Cordero, RHP Jesse Hahn, SS Adalberto Mondesi, RHP Kevin McCarthy, OF Hunter Dozier, RHP Jakob Junis, RHP Brad Keller, 3B Maikel Franco, OF Jorge Soler, and LHP Mike Montgomery.
Signing A Free Agent?
Kansas City has never been a team to open the books and sign big-time free agents on the market. However, bringing in maybe a veteran starting pitcher like Drew Smyly or an outfielder like Jackie Bradley Jr. or Robbie Grossman could be small moves the Royals could make this offseason. Royals GM Dayton Moore has usually been silent during MLB free agency so these moves could just be thoughts at the end of the day. Expect another young club for the 2021 season.
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