Royals where do we go for 2022? With 9 games left, Royals are plus 4 since all star break but still 13 games under .500 so how close are the Royals? My own view is that we are close to be a contender but a team with holes.
The failure of this year was young pitchers still learning how to pitch in the majors and the bottom half of the lineup often failed. Carlos Santana is 35 who looked closer to 45 as he had a poor second half of the season. I have been critical of Hunter Dozier but he did play better in the second half and showed that maybe he can play a role next year, but Ryan O Hearn has not proven he belongs as a starter and time to say good bye.
Mike Minor was to be the veteran starter to stabilize the young pitching staff, but he finished over 5 ERA and only 8-12 record so do you bring him back? Wade Davis and Greg Holland have been great in the past but not in 2020 and now it is time to say thank you for what you done for the past.
Top four of the batting order is solid, Merrifield, Lopez, Perez and Benintendi and if Mondesi stays healthy, Royals have another offensive weapon. The Royals have some young talent coming up led by Bobby Witt, jr who has hit nearly .300 and 33 homers, and you can add M.J. Melendez who has collabored 39 homers to go with his .281 average this minor league season. In addition, Nick Pratto showed he is close, with 33 homers and .261 average and in Double AA, Vinnie Pasquantino has 24 homers and a .300 batting average. Kyle Isabel is hitting .300 in his short stint with the Royals but he also had a good second half of the year at Omaha and Edward Olivares has potential with 5 homers in Kansas City but so far he is learning Major league pitching as his .224 batting average would show.
How aggressive will the Royals be? I have stated before, if you are ready to contend then it is time to move aggressively. From the Royals Review, “Sign free-agent Starling Marte as a free agent. Something like 2/$40M or 3/$45M should get it done. He probably won’t be entirely worth that deal, but I expect him to still be quite good in 2022. After that, hopefully, he declines gracefully, or the Royals have a breakout centerfield candidate and can relegate Marte to a vastly-overpaid fourth-outfielder…trade Scott Barlow, Jonathan Bowlan, and Edward Olivares to the Athletics for Chris Bassitt and some cash.The Royals’ young pitchers aren’t ready to go 200 IP and then pitch deep into the post-season. They’re going to need an experienced horse to lead the way. Bassitt fits this bill, and according to Baseball Trade Values, this is the kind of deal that could get it done. I know you don’t want to lose Barlow, but it’s sort of him or Jackson Kowar, and I think Kowar could be at least as good out of the bullpen if he can’t eventually figure out the whole starting thing.” Granted these are aggressive moves but you have talent in the minors coming up and enough talent on the field now.
Royals are closer than their record shows for now and we will see what the off season brings.