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Kansas City Royals

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Projected WARMarket Value

12.5 113


8.8 79


1.1 10


Projected WAR by grouping is from Fangraphs’ depth charts.
Historically each win is worth ~$9 million on the free agent market

Projected Team

  • Jon Jay, RF
  • Whit Merrifield, 2B
  • Mike Moustakas, 3B
  • Salvador Perez, C
  • Lucas Duda, 1B
  • Jorge Soler, DH
  • Alex Gordon, LF
  • Paulo Orlando, CF
  • Alcides Escobar, SS
  • Danny Duffy, LHP
  • Ian Kennedy, RHP
  • Jason Hammel, RHP
  • Jake Junis, RHP
  • Nathan Karns, RHP
  • Ned Yost

Health Check

“The next few years will be trying ones for Royals fans. Dayton Moore is adamantly opposed to tanking and has vowed to field the most competitive team he can, but it is clear the team is focused on rebuilding with an eye toward the future. Players like Danny Duffy, Whit Merrifield, and Kelvin Herrera could be dealt for more prospects to build up the farm system. Dayton Moore has indicated the club has no plans to sign anyone to a multi-year deal in the near future, and the emphasis will be on seeing what young, homegrown talent can do.

The Royals may not do a complete Houston Astros-type razing — Dayton Moore seems to have too much pride in winning to do that, and the signings this month show his dedication to fielding a competitive team. But expect them to do a rebuild-lite, trading veterans when they can, giving time to younger players, but still signing short-term stop gaps to field something resembling a Major League team. Royals fans seem to be all-in on a rebuild, trusting the process of Dayton Moore.

But a championship ring did not buy Dayton Moore total immunity from criticism. This next year could be crucial for this organization — and it will have nothing to do with what happens on the field. How the Royals handle the draft and how they pursue international free agents could determine how long Royals fans will have to wait until they get to see the next contender in Kansas City. Royals fans waited 29 years between playoff appearances, but they won’t be willing to wait 29 years again.”

—Royals Review

Key Player

“Bury me a Royal.”

These were the words uttered by Danny Duffy, who later backed up that statement by committing to a five-year, $65 million deal with the Royals before the 2017 season, buying out several years of free agency. Duffy has long been a fan favorite with his laid-back California attitude, his sense of humor (he celebrated Royals clinching a playoff spot by wearing a bear suit as an homage to his favorite show Workaholics), his charitable work off the field, his fan interactions in person and on social media, and his desire to stay in Kansas City.

But with the Royals embarking on a rebuild, Duffy’s future in Kansas City just one year after signing his deal becomes less certain. Compounding matters was an embarrassing DUI for Duffy late in the season last year. While Duffy seeks to move on from that incident, the Royals will have to decide whether he is part of the future or not.

With Duffy under contract through the 2021 season, the Royals may see him as the future rotation anchor. Rebuilds can take years, though, and the Royals may still be trying to dig out of a hole once Duffy reaches free agency. They could help the rebuild greatly by trading Duffy for prospects to improve a farm system that’s in poor shape.

It’s easy to see why teams would want Duffy — he has several years under contract, he has blossomed to put up 6 WAR over the last two years, and just seven left-handed starters in baseball have a better strikeout rate over the past two seasons.

Still, Duffy has had numerous injuries in his career — Tommy John surgery in 2012 — and has never made 30 starts. His command issues in the past have kept him from going deep in games, something he has improved upon recently. The Royals won’t feel forced to deal Duffy immediately, giving them some leverage with clubs. But with the threat of injury always looming, they may look to deal him this summer for the right price.

Until then, Duffy serves as the staff ace, the most prized trade asset, and one of the most likable players on the team. The Royals will still stress winning games in 2018, and Duffy can help them do that. But his days in Kansas City may be numbered, no matter how much he wants to stay.

—Max Rieper, Royals Review

Best Case

Kansas City somehow manage to lose a ton of games while also seeing solid production from anyone on the roster who has even a tiny chance of being part of the next competitive Royals team. What, you don’t think they’re trying to lose? Come on now, Alcides Escobar is their shortstop on purpose, in 2018. Anyway. Mike Moustakas keeps on hitting and is traded midseason for prospects now that the Royals know for sure the gang isn’t reuniting in full over the winter. Danny Duffy continues to thrive, increasing the chances he’ll still be here for that next competitive club, and Jorge Soler starts to show fans why the Royals dealt for him in the first place.

Worst Case

The Royals win 77 or so games, meaning they aren’t so much bad as they just kind of... are. The organization’s most intriguing prospects and young players have seasons that warrant a similar description, and the entire Royals’ 2018 feels like a serious waste of time for everyone involved. This is especially true for Alcides Escobar, who tried his hardest to make sure Kansas City lost even more than this, but to no avail.