Now that the World Series is over (and what a thrilling Game 7 last night was), it is time for the KC Royals to get back to work. They have a lot to do strengthen their club to compete against the American League Champion Cleveland Indians (and many other AL teams).
The Royals need to decide if they will extend the $17.2 million qualifying offer to any of their free agents (which must be excepted or rejected by November 14th).
They have until November 7th to do that, along with picking up the options on shortstop Alcides Escobar ($6.5 million or the $500,000 buyout), DH Kendrys Morales ($11 million or the $1.5 million buyout), Kris Medlen ($10 million or the $1 million buyout), Edinson Volquez ($10 million or the $3 million buyout), Wade Davis ($10 million or the $2.5 million buyout), and/or Luke Hochevar ($7 million or the $500,000 buyout).
Backup catcher Drew Butera and reliever Peter Moylan are free agents. The Royals have a five-day window beginning today to exclusively negotiate with them. They hit the open market on November 8th.
The Royals have eight arbitration-eligible players and have until December 2nd to decide whether to tender contracts with those eight. Those players include first baseman Eric Hosmer (projected to receive $13.3 million), setup man Kelvin Herrera ($5.3 million), Dillon Gee ($3.6 million), outfielder Jarrod Dyson ($2.5 million), lefty Danny Duffy ($8.2 million), Daniel Nava ($1.5 million), catcher Tony Cruz ($1 million), and injured lefty Tim Collins ($1.5 million).
Plus, the Royals have to decide which minor league players that are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft to protect by placing on the 40-man roster (the Rule 5 Draft ends the winter meetings on December 8th). They have some interesting names that include reliever Andrew Edwards, lefty Daniel Stumpf (who the Royals lost to and got back from the Phillies in last year’s Rule 5 Draft), starters Jake Junis, Luke Farrell, Christian Binford, Jonathan Dziedzic, and Pedro Fernandez (though he didn’t pitch after July 4th due to injury), catcher Cam Gallagher, and first baseman Samir Duenez.
And they have to do all of this without expanding the payroll, maybe actually cutting the payroll. They spent money in 2016 and did not make the playoffs. Something has to change, right?
However, core players such as Hosmer, Escobar, Davis, Duffy, Mike Moustakas, and Lorenzo Cain could be playing their final year in 2017 with the Royals. This could be the last year of contention for the Royals for a few years to come.
*All numbers and dates are via MLB Trade Rumors.