Royals at the Break from James Schneider
We have our first outside contribution this week on "For Your Entertainment" it comes from a good friend of mine and an expert on anything Kansas City related. The one and only James Schneider joins us to give us his take on the Kansas City Royals at the MLB All-Star break. He will break down what he has seen from the Royals in the first half of the season and where he sees them going in the second half; tomorrow you will all see my take on the Cardinals at the break in a separate post. So without further ado James Schneider's take on the Royals:
It’s the midway point of the season and as a Royals fan it has been a crazy ride. After opening the season 7-7, the Royals promptly went on a 9-game losing streak. The team seemed disinterested, with our biggest stars focused on free agency and possible big paydays. This set off all the alarms in Kansas City, fans calling for trades, questions about management and direction, and most importantly what the hell was Rex Hudler going to spin it to the fans. As we inch closer to the All-Star break, the Royals find themselves back in the thick of things for the AL Central Division.
I was one of the many calling for trades and a re-stocking of a farm system devoid of all-star material. There were rumblings of a trade with the Nationals and their coveted prospect Victor Robles. The cost, Lorenzo Cain and Kelvin Herrera. This seemed like a fantastic opportunity to pick up one of baseball’s top prospects. As, a fan it would and will be hard to see players go, especially ones that have been part of an extraordinary turnaround for a franchise that had no direction. I felt they needed to pull the trigger and if we are going to be losers again, lets field a young team and watch them learn how to win. I mean we’ve done it before, right? These rumblings turned out to be speculative at best.
Then, to make matters worse, Danny Duffy went down for six weeks and we also lost Nate Karns. Duffy had picked up where he left off last year and Karns was pitching lights out. When they went down and we were forced to watch Chris Young take the mound, I thought surely this is when the wheeling and dealing would start. Through all of this, Yost and Moore preached patience and caution, no moves would be made without giving the squad a chance. The lineup was shuffled placing Escobar at the top of the order, in hopes of grabbing some of that 2014-2015 magic that he seemed to possess. For a brief time, it appeared to be a spark. However, the Royals could not get closer than 5 games below .500.
Then, the switch was flipped and the team took off. A road trip out west proved to be just what they needed. They rattled off 6 in a row and came back home 33-35. What awaited them was the AL East leading Red Sox, and the Royals took 2 of 3. Game three ended with a grand slam by Salvador Perez, and for someone who was there to see it, that felt like the moment you could believe in this team again.
Since then, the Royals have gone 6-4 and sit at 41-40, 3 games back of the division leading Indians. There is now talk amongst fans of going after bigger trades to make a real push and give this core one last chance to get a title together. The odds of retaining any of the big four, Hosmer, Cain, Moustakas or Escobar are slim. Escobar is the most likely to be retained and has the least amount of trade value of the four. If anything, the Royals will likely make small moves to bolster the bullpen. They lack the prospects, it appears, to make a big splash like they did in 2015 for Cueto and Zobrist. But, Dayton Moore has an above average track record when it comes to deals and seems to have an eye for diamonds in the rough. This team is hard to read but they have a winning pedigree and to this point, seem to have found their stride.