Dayton Moore has officially checked out of the Winter Meetings in Nashville and is on his way back to Kansas City. While nothing of major significance took place for the Royals, groundwork for free agents and trade partners have been laid out. The Royals checked in on R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese, Zack Wheeler, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Jon Lester, Derek Holland, Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse, Ryan Dempster, and probably another 20 names that we were never made aware of.
Aiming for Anibal
Zack Greinke is still a free agent, meaning that Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse, Ryan Dempster, and basically every other available starting pitcher with top-of-the-rotation potential are still free agents as well.
Anibal Sanchez has been the Royals’ top free agent target throughout the Winter Meetings, but they’ll need to act fast after Greinke starts the domino effect if they want him on board. Many of the teams outside of the Greinke market, along with whoever loses the Battle for Zack (either the Dodgers or Rangers), have Anibal Sanchez at the top of their wish list.
It’s safe to say, Anibal isn’t going to come cheap.
Historically, the Royals have generally had to overpay free agents in order for them to come to Kansas City (ex: Meche- 5 years, $55 million; Guillen- 3 years, $36 million). Suffice it to say, Sanchez, or any other top free agent for that matter, won’t be here unless the Royals practically outbid everyone else.
Cross your fingers.
The Price Isn’t Right… Yet
The Royals are no longer discussing R.A. Dickey-for-Wil Myers with the Mets. But they did engage in some dialogue with them about possibly dealing Wil Myers for LHP Jon Niese and RHP prospect Zack Wheeler. Outside of Dickey and Johan Santana, Niese and Wheeler are probably the two most coveted pitchers within the Mets organization. If they were strictly talking Myers for them straight-up, Dayton was likely laughed out of the room. But Myers-plus could be interesting.
The Royals other major trade front still lies in Tampa Bay. The Rays are said to be wanting Myers + prospects for starter James Shields, which the Royals balked at. Shields is dominant and would automatically become the Royals’ ace.
And the Rays know that.
For them, it makes sense to hold on to Shields until the free agent market pieces begin to fall into place. Whoever loses out on Greinke/Sanchez/Lohse could turn their eyes toward Tampa, turning regular talks into a free-for-all.
Keeping Tabs on Dempster
Even though he turned down the Royals 2-year, $26 million offer, the Royals are still keeping tabs on righty Ryan Dempster. Given his age (35), the Royals think a two-year deal for $13 million a year is more than sufficient.
Adding a third year to the deal would peak Dempster’s interest and could be enough to sign him, but it doesn’t make sense for the Royals to pay $13 million to a 38 year old pitcher with a declining skill-set.
Regardless, he’ll be worth keeping an eye on – especially after Zack Greinke is off the market.
Mega Trade Talks Cooling
All of yesterday seemed to be spent speculating on a four-team mega trade between the Rangers/Rays, Diamond backs, Indians, and Royals/Mariners, with the main focus being Arizona trading Justin Upton for a starting shortstop – possibly Asdrubal Cabrera or Elvis Andrus/Jurickson Profar.
As of now, with the Gaylord Opryhouse Hotel in Nashville nearing emptiness, talks have cooled.
The whole deal is shrouded in mystery. Were the Royals/Mariners/Rays actually included in talks? Was it all speculation?
The Rangers covet Justin Upton, and if they don’t re-up Josh Hamilton, he’s their guy. Deals are still on the table, but it isn’t for certain exactly which, or even how many, teams are involved.
Rule 5 Draft
Baseball’s Rule 5 Draft took place in Nashville this morning. The Royals didn’t lose any players in the major league portion, but lost five players in the minor league portion of the draft.
- Triple A Phase
- Padres: Diego Goris 3B, Federico Castandeda RHP
- Pirates: Ethan Hollingsworth RHP
- Phillies: Brendan Lafferty LHP
- Reds: Ryan Dennick LHP
The Royals opted to pass on all of their selections, as taking a player in the Major League Phase would have required them to open a spot on their already full 40-man roster. They would also have to keep said player on their 25-man roster for all of 2013 if they didn’t want to risk losing the player to their former team for $25,ooo. All players selected in the Major League Phase requires the selecting team to pay $50,000 to the team the player was previously on.
2013 is shaping up to be a very interesting year for baseball. The Houston Astros will be making the transition from the over-crowded six-team NL Central to the now-powerful AL West. The move creates two even leagues at 15 teams apiece, five teams per division. The “realignment”, as minimal as it seems, has altered the way the baseball schedule will look from here on out.
Before 2013, interleague play was genereally held from late-May through mid-June and wouldn’t happen again until the World Series.
But starting next season, interleague play is going to take place on practically every single day of the season, April through September.
With the increased interleague play (20 games per team) comes increased divisional play as well. Teams will square-up against each of their divisional foes 19 times apiece (76 games). The remaining 66 games will be divvied out amongst league opponents – playing each team once at home and once on the road.
The interleague divisional partner for the AL Central will be the NL East.
The Royals will open the 2013 season with a series against the Chicago White Sox (April 1, 3-4) before traveling to Philadelphia for a three game series against the Phils. Their home opener will take place on April 8th with a three-game series against the Twins.
- May 27-30: The I-70 Series will take place when the Royals and Cardinals line-up against one another for four consecutive days. The catch? The first two games will take place at The K. The latter two at Busch.
- This is a new idea that the league is trying where each team will face their “interleague rival” for four straight days in each team’s respective ballpark.
- June 25-26: The Braves (in Atlanta since 1966) will make their first trip to Kansas City (the Royals since 1969) in franchise history, pitting GM Dayton Moore and his on-field product against his former employers.
- The Royals will have two 10-game homestands in 2013:
- April 26-29 vs. Cleveland; April 30-May 2 vs. Tampa Bay; May 3-5 vs. Chicago White Sox
- August 5-7 vs. Minnesota; August 8-11 vs. Boston; August 12-14 vs. Miami
- Their two longest road trips will span nine games each:
- May 13-15 @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; May 17-19 @ Oakland; May 20-22 @ Houston
- July 26-28 @ Chicago Cubs; July 30-August 1 @ Minnesota; August 2-4 @ New York Mets
- The Royals’ trip to Queens will be their first visit to Citi Field – the host of the 2013 All-Star game.
- August 23-25: Bryce Harper will make his second trip to Kansas City – his first being this past All-Star game. The then 20-year old will be sure to draw big numbers to The K for that three-game series. Oh yeah, they’ll probably have that Stephen Strasbug guy too. Hopefully the Nats won’t shut him down before then.
The Royals’ regular season home schedule concludes on September 22nd against he Texas Rangers. The regular season itself will end for KC on September 29th when they travel to Chicago (where they’ll start the season) for a four-game series against the White Sox.
Click here for the Royals’ full 2013 schedule.