The Royals have not made a postseason appearance since 2015 when the club won the World Series. Since then, the team has not had a winning season. The Kansas City Royals want to contend in 2021 and show that they can compete in the American League Central.
A few weeks ago on MLB Network, Royals’ GM Dayton Moore spoke on the clubs’ recent struggles and how they are not in full rebuild mode. Moore said that the club is trying to win as many games as possible and put out a competitive product on the baseball field.
Early Thursday morning, Kansas City manager, Mike Matheny spoke to the media about the current offseason and some of the moves the club has made. Some of these roster moves have added new bats to the lineup, including 1B Carlos Santana and OF Michael Taylor. Along with these two hitters, Kansas City added pitchers, Mike Minor and Greg Holland. Dayton Moore has also mentioned the Royals want to contend and be in “win-now” mode.
With addressing these roster moves on Thursday, Matheny also said that these moves were because he believes the Royals want to contend during the 2021 season.
Royals Want to Contend: But Will They?
The Kansas City Royals want to contend going into the 2021 season by adding to their roster, however, the club is still stuck in a competitive division race.
The Minnesota Twins have a home-run hitting lineup that has dominated the AL Central for the past few seasons and look to add another division title to their name. The Royals have not faired well against Minnesota in recent years and it seems Minnesota is the favorite to take the AL Central in 2021.
The Chicago White Sox hired Tony LaRussa as their manager after he’d been out of Major League Baseball for almost a decade. LaRussa now is under the control of one of the hottest teams in MLB, alongside sluggers like Jose Abreu, Eloy Jimenez, and Luis Robert. They added Lance Lynn to their rotation which will help the Sox pitching staff. The White Sox were a wild card team in 2020, and look to build off of that in 2021.
Cleveland is currently stuck in the middle of the AL Central. They have the pitching staff to carry them, with Shane Bieber as their ace, who was nearly untouchable in 2020. Despite great pitching, they have a situation with SS Francisco Lindor to address within the coming months.
As for the Detriot Tigers, they may be in the same situation as Kansas City. Detriot played a lot of young players last season but look to get out of the bunker in the central. The Royals want to contend, but they may be in a race for fourth and fifth place in the AL Central in 2021.
Over the last three years, Chicago, Kansas City, and Detriot have been walked over by the Indians and the Twins. Since the Royals’ World Series victory in 2015, the club has yet to have a winning record. In 2016, they finished 81-81, and in 2017 the Royals finished 80-82. Once 2018 and 2019 came around, Kansas City lost 100+ games (each year), finishing 30 or more games out of first place. In the shortened 2020 season, Kansas City finished 26-34, and still finished fourth in the division.
2020 was a small sample size, so a 26-34 record does not look too bad on paper, however, the club was not in a playoff position for most of the season.
If the Royals want to contend next season, they will have to overperform and develop a young team quickly. With young arms like Brady Singer and Kris Bubic, they have a really young starting rotation already. While adding to the lineup, the Royals’ bullpen got better in 2020, but they will have to take even bigger steps in 2021.
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