Friday, August 12, 2005

My New Blogging Location

I've been given the opportunity to blog on the Daily Lancer. The Daily Lancer is one of the best established Royals blogs going. Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you'll continue to read my thoughts on the Royals over on the Daily Lancer. I'll continue to provide plenty of information about the Royals' farm system, as well as an update to Butler/Lubanski's splits over on the Daily Lancer.

Daily Lancer

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Another Record for the Baird Era?

Baird's clubs have reset the club loss record three times by losing 100 games in 2002 and 2004 and tying the record in 2001. Tomorrow, they will attempt to tie the club's record for longest losing streak with 12 losses in a row. Tonight, the Royals were just 2 runs short of tying the AL record for most runs allowed in the ninth inning and probably set a club record (not sure what the club record is, but we probably shattered it). The Royals made a bunch of stupid errors and MacDougal and Gobble got hit hard, leading to an 11-run ninth, blowing a 5-run lead. Berroa and Ambres both made errors on routine plays that could have ended the game with the Royals ending this dreadful streak.

On a brighter note, Berroa just signed a endorsement deal with Southwest Airlines. The commercial will show one of Berroa's numerous blunders where he bobbles and kicks a routine grounder. Then, the voice will come on and say "Wanna Get Away?"

This team has hopefully hit rock bottom. It's time for a major overhaul of the organization. The Baird era has underscored the organization's inability to do anything that is required to make a small-market team successful. This starts with building a good farm system and developing good, young talent. That hasn't happened. The first wave of youth (Affeldt, MacDougal, Berroa, George, Harvey, Gobble, Snyder, Acensio, and Carrasco) is looking like a failure for the most part. MacDougal and Affeldt look like they'll be decent setup man at least and Carrasco might be a #5 starter. Overall, the Royals didn't do a good job of developing those players as all of them have failed to live up to their projections or hype. Is there more talent in the 2005 wave? Perhaps. There's perhaps more talent in the bullpen with Sisco, Burgos, and Nunez. There are more position players in the 2005 wave. But, the early returns aren't especially good. I think it's time to overhaul the organization.

Who do you keep? Buddy Bell, Deric Laidner, and maybe Guy Hansen. Buddy Bell hasn't had enough time to prove himself. Quite frankly, the manager isn't the problem, the absence of talent and baseball abilities on this ballclub are the main problems. Deric Ladnier gets to stay around for another year at least because the drafts have improved significantly over the past 2 years. That's a step in the right direction. While Baird certainly may have played a role in these improvements, it's too late for him. The products of these drafts won't arrive until 2007 or 2008, well after Baird is gone (and if this franchise still exists). Guy Hansen stays because he hasn't been around long enough to judge him. He's done a good job with the young bullpen, but a terrible job with the rotation.

Who do you fire? Allard Baird, training and conditioning crew, and people involved in player development (especially starting pitchers). Baird has to go. He's done a horrible job as the general manager of this team. He's put together 4 of the worst teams in Royals' history in his 5 years as GM. Can you possibly do much worse? I highly doubt it.

The biggest problem I have with Baird was that he didn't do anything worthwhile to improve this team during the offseason. In Baird's bio, it says "Since taking over as General Manager, Baird has implemented a long-term strategy to develop talent at the minor league level, as well as an attitude to win throughout the organization".

An attitude to win? The Royals essentially gave up on this season before it started and called it a rebuilding year. That sounds like a winning attitude, doesn't it? There was no reason to believe that the Royals would be a contender in 2003, yet they spend more than half the season in first place (Chris George led the team in wins, who would have predicted that). But, the Royals gave up on this season before it started. With no apparent solution to the outfield situation in sight, wouldn't it have been a better idea to sign someone like Jermaine Dye to a 2-year contract instead of signing a couple of 4th outfielders and a career minor-leaguer? Jose Lima was very inconsistent throughout his career and had suspect home/road splits last year. Byrd was coming off a solid season last year. Both of these players Baird went after, but didn't sign them. He didn't sign Dye because it didn't fit the "youth movement" and young, budding stars like Long, Brown, and Marrero were better fits. The Royals knew Teahan wouldn't be ready. Why not pick up Randa's option?

That would have given the Royals a solid veteran base on the team with Sweeney, Stairs, Dye, Randa, Graffanino and Byrd, and hopefully a couple veteran relievers. All of those guys are familiar faces and would have had good chemistry. Who knows what would have happened? That team would have been a lot better and would have given the Royals some good trade bait. While that doesn't fit the "youth movement", rushing players well before they are ready is just stupid. It hurts their development and uses up service time. Not to mention, it's not like Truby, McEwing, Hocking, Marrero, Long, or Brown fit the "youth movement" either. It's a moot point now, but it certainly would have made this team much more bearable to watch.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Stadium Issue

To take a break from the depressing state of the Royals, I thought I'd discuss the stadium issue. Clearly, something has to be done to improve Kauffman and Arrowhead. In fact, it's required in the lease that the stadiums remain in "state-of-the-art" condition. One architectural firm, HOK, might be selected to do renovations. There is certainly a significant cost involved in making the stadiums "state-of-the-art", especially the renovations the Chiefs have in mind:

"HOK officials stated that they thought it would cost about $290 million to bring Arrowhead Stadium alone up to a “state-of-the-art” condition. That phrase comes from the county’s 1990 leases with the Royals and Chiefs, which extend to 2014."

The stadium issue a tough one for Kansas City. But, it's also extremely important if Kansas Citians want to keep the Royals and Chiefs in Kansas City. The voters rejected Bi-State II, a plan that would have included renovations to the Truman Sports Complex. That plan would have cost Kansas Citians $1.2 billion, a substantially larger sum than the new plan on the ballot.

In the works is a much smaller plan than Bi-State II, a sales tax referendum that would increase Jackson County sales tax by a quarter-cent for four years. This would raise $80 million for renovations to the Truman Sports Complex. Jackson County maintains that $80 million would be enough to fulfill its maintainence obligations in the lease.

The Chiefs are much more ambitious and forceful in their demands while the Royals seem to be content with "Band-Aid" repairs, similar to ones the Royals tried to use on their team this year. So, I supposed that's all the Royals really deserve are some "Band-Aid" repairs. Ideally, I'd like to make the Chiefs and Royals leases seperate entities after this lease expires. That might help reduce the financial burden on Jackson County from becoming overwhelming.

As far as the referendum goes, most of the discussion was back in February. There hasn't been any publicity for it that I have seen. The Royals do need to make their demands known so that Jackson County knows exactly what they need to do to fulfill the lease. That could be one reason why the referendum hasn't gained any momentum.

Articles used as sources, for your perusing as well:
Royals happy at Kauffman
County Discusses Stadium Upgrades
Give Taxpayers Charity
Hire Independent Architectural Firm

Saturday, August 06, 2005

2005 Draft Update

The Royals 2005 draft appears to be a success as well. The Royals took the best player available with the #2 overall pick in the draft. Jeffrey Bianchi and Joseph Dickerson both appeared to be signability picks, but have done very well so far. The Royals didn't have any extra compensation picks, so it appears they did pretty well. However, the Royals still need to sign Gordon. Not doing so would make the draft an absolute disaster.

1-2: Alex Gordon/3B: Gordon, if he signs, will provide the Royals with another All-Star caliber talent. Gordon will likely start at High Desert or Wichita once he signs. The hold up may be that Gordon wants a major league contract. I don't mind giving that too him. He'll be on the big league club quickly enough that options shouldn't be a big deal. I can think of 5-10 players on the 40-man roster that are readily expendable for a top talent like Gordon. Grade: A if he signs; F if he doesn't

2-50: Jeffrey Bianchi/SS: Bianchi appears to be an excellent pick by the Royals. Bianchi is tearing up the Arizona Rookie League and his hitting ability appears to be very advanced. One scout even said his hitting ability is on par with the first-overall pick in the draft, Justin Upton.
Grade: A

2005 stats: (AZL) 88 ABs .420/.491/.773 6 HRs 28 RBIs

3-82: Chris Nicoll/RHP: Nicoll has good command and 3 average pitches (fastball, slider, curve) and the slider and maybe the fastball has plus potential. His excellent command will help him. Grade: B+

4-112: Joseph Dickerson/CF: Dickerson's video wasn't that impressive. He does have a good swing that produces line drives and has good speed. He's doing well in his debut in the Arizona Rookie League. Grade: B+

2005 stats: (AZL) 131 ABs .321/.405/.565 2 HRs 24 RBIs

5-142: Shawn Hayes/SS: Hayes' debut has been less than impressive. Supposedly a toolsy shortstop, so we'll see if those tools develop. Grade: D

2005 stats: (Pio) 48 ABs .208/.316/.292

6-172: Ryan DiPietro/LHP: Pietro has marginal fastball and two secondary pitches that could develop into plus pitches. He's struggling at Idaho Falls. Grade: B-

2005 stats: (Pio) 6.63 ERA 36 2/3 IP 10 BBs 30 Ks

7-202: Brent Fisher/LHP: Fisher has had a solid debut in the Arizona Rookie League. Fisher could develop two plus pitches and is developing his changeup. His command has been very good, with just 5 walks in 32 IP. Grade: A

2005 stats: (AZL) 4-1 3.38 ERA 32 IP 5 BBs 39 Ks

8-232: Nicholas Doscher/C: Doscher hasn't played much in the Arizona Rookie League. He has plus-potential defensively and should hit for power. Grade: B

9-262: Kiel Thibault/C: Thibault has good defensive skills behind the plate. He has a quick release and an accurate arm which will make up for near-average arm strength. Grade: A-

2005 stats: (Pio) 69 ABs .290/.357/.507 2 HRs 13 RBIs

10-292: Jeffrey Howell/C: Howell has had a good offensive debut in the Pioneer League. Seems to have pretty average skills all-around. Grade: B+

2005 stats: (Pio) 81 ABs .387/.457/.519 1 HR 14 RBIs

11-322: Michael Penn/RHP: Good control so far, with 20 strikeouts to just 4 walks

12-352: James Harkcom/RHP: Has pretty good stuff, but has been hit around so far

13-382: Andrew Larsen/CF: Posting a .270/.364/.475 line at Idaho Falls

14-412: Antonio Sabatini/CF: .276/.344/.405 at Idaho Falls

15-442: Brady Everett/C: Bat is his strength, could end up at 1B. Hitting .363/.451/.606

21-622: David Henninger/RHP: Henninger has pitched well at Idaho Falls, with a 3.86 ERA and 35 Ks in 35 IP.

Overall, the 2005 draft looks pretty good once Gordon signs. The Royals got two very good talents in Gordon and Bianchi. The Royals added 3 good college catchers who should add some depth to the system. The Royals did need to add some more pitching though. Overall, I'd give the draft a B+ as of now.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Draft Update: 2004

The 2004 draft looks like a success so far. Billy Butler is one of the best hitting prospects in the minors. JP Howell has already made his major league debut. Luis Cota is having a very good season at Burlington, even though he's one of the youngest pitchers in the league (technically, Cota belongs in the 2003 draft category). The Royals also did pretty well in the later rounds. The only real bust in the draft was Matt Campbell. He was doing alright at Burlington, but he's been shutdown due to injuries. Here's a list of the 2004 selections, scouting reports, and some videos from

2004 Scouting Reports and Videos

Here's a look at how the Royals 2004 draftees have done so far:

1-14. Billy Butler/LF (Round-Pick Player/Pos): Butler has been a great pick for the Royals. Butler has the most offensive upside of any Royals' prospect in quite some time. This was an example of a good signability pick. Grade: A+

2005 stats: High A 376 ABs .348/.438/.636 29 2Bs 25 HRs 91 RBIs

1-29. Matt Campbell/LHP: Campbell was the worst pick in the draft. Other than a plus curve, Campbell doesn't have much going for him. Campbell has been sidelined by injury problems. After watching his scouting video, I didn't see what the Royals saw in him. I wish the Royals would stop drafting soft-tossing lefties and hoping they become Jaime Moyer. Only 1 in 100 ever become Jaime Moyer. Grade: D

2005 stats: 1-5 4.66 ERA 63 2/3 IP 37 BBs 48 Ks

1-31: James Howell/LHP: Howell looks like a good pick by the Royals. Howell has 3 solid pitchers with his sinker, curve, and splitter. He also throws a 4-seam fastball touching 89 mph (and gets hit hard) and a changeup. Howell could eventually be a good No. 3 or 4 starter. His command needs improvement. Grade: A-

2005 stats (short version): High A and AA good, AAA and ML's not so good

2-55: Billy Buckner/RHP: Buckner is having a pretty good season, earning a quick promotion to High Desert. Buckner features a low 90s fastball, a plus curve, and a developing change. Should move quickly and enter the rotation by 2007. Grade: B+

2005 stats: (low A) 3-7 3.88 ERA 60 1/3 IP 17 BBs 60 Ks
(high A) 5-4 5.43 ERA 63 IP 25 BBs 62 Ks

2-63: Eric Cordier/RHP: Cordier has been shutdown due to injury problems, thankfully not to his arm. Cordier has good upside and projection with 3 potential plus pitches. Grade: B

3-85: Josh Johnson/SS: Johnson hasn't been terribly impressive. Johnson hasn't hit for average or power, but has shown good plate discipline. But, a later pick makes up for this one
Grade: C-

2005 stats: (AZL) 112 ABs .259/.387/.393
(Pio) 32 ABs .125/.222/.281

4-115: Nate Moore/RHP: Moore is doing alright at High Desert after a swift promotion from High A. Moore isn't overpowering. His arm slot is almost sidearm and he gets some sinking action on his fastball and has an average slurve. Moore could be a decent middle reliever down the road. Grade: B

2005 stats: (low A) 3.94 ERA 16 IP 5 BBs 21 Ks
(high A) 5.10 ERA 47 2/3 IP 20 BBs 24 Ks

5-145: Henry Barrera/RHP: Barrera has plenty of projection and already throws in the mid-90s. He's still very raw though. Grade: B

2005 stats: (AZL): 6.48 ERA 16 2/3 IP 7 BBs 16 Ks

6-175: Chad Blackwell/RHP: Blackwell has a unique sidearm delivery. His size and awkward delivery are similar to Leo Nunez, except for the arm slot and much slower fastball. Blackwell has a good slider and does a good job of locating his fastball. Blackwell is doing very well in his first full pro season. Grade: A-

2005 stats: (low A) 2.47 ERA 51 IP 23 BBs 54 Ks 11 SVs

7-205: Patrick Green/RHP: Green has a fastball that sits in the upper 80s with pretty good movement. Green also throws a hard and soft curve. He has good command and mixes his pitches effectively. Grade: A-

2005 stats: (low A) 4.09 ERA 103 IP 22 BBs 60 Ks
(high A) 0.60 ERA 15 IP 2 BBs 10 Ks

8-235: Edward Lucas/SS: Lucas is a speedy infielder with good speed and on-base skills. His defense needs some work though. Could be a utility guy in the future with useful speed off the bench. Grade: B

2005 stats: (low A) 315 ABs .311/.373/.368 23 SBs

9-265: Chris McConnell/SS: McConnell is having a great season at Idaho Falls. McConnell's strength is his defense with great range. He's done quite well offensively as well, posting a .339/.420/.452. Sean Rooney signed him as well as Bianchi. Rooney has a knack for drafting shortstops out of the northeast. Just don't let him draft any outfielders (Lubanski). Grade: A

2005 stats: (Pio) 162 ABs .340/.385/.519 3 HRs 19 RBIs

10-295: Bobby Beeson/LHP: Regressed this season. Grade: D

Other notables:

16-475: Patrick Hicklen/RHP: Hicklen uses an upper 80s fastball, fast and slow curve, and a slider. He's having a good season at Burlington, but his stuff probably won't take him to the big leagues.

27-805: Zane Carlson/RHP: Carlson pitched well at Idaho Falls and earned a promotion to Burlington. Carlson's fastball can hit 93 mph and has a good splitter.

34-1015: Kyle Crist/RHP: Crist's fastball can hit 93 mph and he has some projection left. Crist has good late tailing action on his fastball as well. He shows signs of developing a plus slider and curve. Best late-round pick by the Royals. Grade: A

Overall, the 2004 draft was a good one for the Royals. The Royals acquired a hitting phenom in Billy Butler who maybe has more raw power than any Royal in quite some time. The Royals added some pitching to a farm system that badly needed it. The Royals mixed in some high school pitchers with good upside (Cordier and Barrera) as well as polished college pitchers. Overall, the 2004 draft was one of the Royals best in quite some time.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Major Changes Are Needed

The Royals need to make some major changes in the organization. Since the Baird era began, the Royals are now 340-503 (.403). The signs of progress are becoming few and far between. Every game that I see Terrance Long and Joe McEwing in the lineup, it makes me wonder if the Royals even believe in the "youth movement". The young position players haven't made much progress, with the exception of David DeJesus (who had plenty of minor league seasoning). I can't say I have much confidence in Berroa, Gotay, Teahan, and Buck developing into even average major leaguers. Our rotation is awful. Greinke and Bautista have a lot of talent, but aren't putting it together yet. Hernandez seems to have peaked as a #3 starter and isn't showing signs of being more than that. The bullpen is promising with all of the power arms, but the awful rotation will prevent it from pitching in a lot of meaningful games.

Major Change #1: Fire Allard Baird

Before this year, I was never very impressed or displeased with the job Baird has done. The 2003 fluke the best part of his tenure, with the Royals winning 83 games. But, that was more a function of a horrible division that masked an otherwise mediocre team. In 2002 and 2004, the Royals lost 100+ games, setting franchise records for losses. The 2005 team isn't any better, on pace to lose 105 games. Most GMs would be fired if their teams consistently lose 100 games, but Baird's job seems very safe at the moment.

Here's the case for why Baird should be fired:

1. Free Agent Signing Failures: Baird has done a terrible job in free agency and this is an area he hasn't shown any improvement. Lima, Anderson, May, Sullivan, Gonzalez, Santiago, Lopez, Knoublach, and so forth have all failed to fill the club's needs. This is a critical part of the job. The Royals looked to make the 2004 team into a contender and Baird's free agent choices sealed the team's fate as the second worst team in baseball. With $25+ million available to be spent this offseason, I have a tough time trusting him with that much money.

2. Trades: Baird hasn't excelled in this area. The Damon trade netted Berroa and a overpaid closer. Berroa continues to frustrate Royals fans with his above-average power, fielding ability, and speed, but his awful plate discipline and lack of focus in the field make him a below-average shortstop. The Jermaine Dye trade was horrible. The Beltran trade is still an unknown, but the early returns aren't terribly promising. Mike Wood looks like a decent No. 5 starter or long reliever. Mark Teahan, if he develops power, will be a Joe Randa-type 3rd basemen. John Buck has struggled mightily, but has shown some promise. Overall, the Royals didn't acquire any impact players in any of these key deals. Baird has done well in some small deals: Huber for Bautista, Bautista for Grimsley, Nunez for Santiago, Graffanino for Cedeno and Ambres. Baird has also made some poor small deals, Graeme Lloyd for whoever, Eli Marrero for Jorge Vasquez, come to mind. Overall, I think Baird has done a below-average job in his trades.

3. Farm System: The Royals have a below-average farm system. The Royals have a few impact players in Huber, Butler, and Gordon (if he signs). But, the Royals don't any depth at catcher or 3rd base (unless Gordon signs), and most of the middle infield depth is still in the low minors. The Royals farm system is almost absent of pitching prospects. Luis Cota is the only starter who has significant upside. The lack of impact players and depth makes the farm system a weakness. Most baseball publications and websites have the Royals farm system ranked among the worst in baseball. Baird has done a terrible job in this area.

4. Drafts: Baird and his scouting department have improved their drafts during the Baird era. The 2000 draft netted DeJesus and Gotay. The 2001 draft was a complete disaster. The 2002 draft looks good, with Greinke, Murphy, and Bayliss already making it to the majors. The 2003 draft was outfielder heavy and hasn't paid any dividends yet. The Royals picked Chris Lubanski with their highest pick in history, but he has been a disappointment so far. Luis Cota, Mitch Maier, Mike Aviles and Shane Costa are pretty good prospects, helping the 2003 draft. The 2004 draft looks solid, picking up one of the best hitting prospects in the minors, Billy Butler. JP Howell has already made his major league debut. The 2005 draft looks pretty good early on, assuming Gordon signs. Bianchi is having a great debut and looks like a cost-effective steal. The trio of college catchers (Howell, Everett, Thibault) help fill a critical need in the organization. Overall, Baird has done a average job drafting, with noticeable improvement.

5. Hiring Organizational Personnel: Baird made the mistake of hiring Tony Pena and stuck with him too long. Buddy Bell looks alright so far. Bell has instilled discipline and the team looks better than Pena's squad. The Royals have had a lot of trouble finding a good pitching coach. The early returns on Guy Hansen are mixed. While he has seemed to really have helped the bullpen (particularly MacDougal), the rotation is still awful. Greinke's regression is especially disappointing. Ultimately, Baird is responsible for the carousel of pitching coaches.

6. Assessment of Team Needs: Baird has done a medicore job of assessing the team needs and focusing too much on one specific need. This year, it's been the power-hitting corner outfielder. Not only has he spent a year focusing on it, but it appears that he wouldn't accept other prospects in return for Affeldt except a top OF prospect (KC Star said the price for Affeldt was the PH corner OF). The Mariners got the Marlins' top right-handed prospect Yomany Bozardo for Ron Villone. The Royals starting rotation is a bigger need than the outfield. Baird also demanded a 3rd basemen and a catcher for Beltran instead of getting the best talent available. You can always go out and sign a 3rd basemen and a catcher. But, you can't get a couple of top prospects with All-Star potential everyday. The big trades should have focused on getting back top prospects who could eventually be the caliber of the player you traded.

Reasons to Keep Baird or Give Him More Time:

1. Baird has developed a core of young players that will be together for the next 4 or 5 years. Whether they are any good or not, only time will tell. But, the patience of Royals fans is running thin.
2. Firing Baird might alter the direction of the franchise. Hard to see that as a negative thing though.
3. The Royals had their only winning season since 1994 under Baird
4. He's a nice guy and a hard worker

The Royals have given Baird 5 years to improve this team and that hasn't happened. In fact, it's gotten worse. Last year, Baird developed a plan to make the team competitive. However, it's a bit late for that. The Royals don't have the pieces necessary to make the plan successful. Overall, Baird has done a less than satisfactory job in every aspect of his job. A below-average GM won't cut it for a small-market team. You need to have one of the best GMs and scouting departments to get the best, cheap talent available.

Major Change #2: Fix the Starting Pitching Problem

I have no idea why the Royals can't develop starters, but they have been woefully inept at this. The young starters never seem to be able to overcome the adjustment period and just get worse. Greinke seems like the easiest starting pitcher to develop. He has good makeup, good control, and good stuff.

To fix this problem, the Royals will need to completely overhaul everything associated with developing starters. The Royals need to take a long, hard look at how they are developing their starters. The Royals should also take a look at organizations like the A's and see if they can learn anything from them. This team isn't going anywhere if the Royals can't develop starting pitching.

I encourage you to let Dan Glass hear your opinion on whether or not Baird should remain the general manager of the team. The Royals seem very comfortable with Allard Baird. But, if Mr. Glass becomes aware of the fans displeasure with the GM, then perhaps this will hasten much needed changes in the organization. Here is the e-mail for Dan Glass and his fax number:

FAX Number: (816) 924-0347

-Note: Faxes are probably more likely to be read. E-Mails can be deleted easily.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

More Mumblings and Grumblings

Not too much to say about these past few days. Trying to find something positive to say, but I'm coming up empty. The Royals got swept by the Devil Rays and have lost the first 2 games to the Red Sox. This road trip needs to end quickly. The Royals were on a nice run, playing close to .500 under Bell through 50 games. But, I figured those days would have to end eventually. Those days have ended quite abruptly.

The Royals lost 104 games last year and look like they'll do the same this year. There need to be some MAJOR changes around this organization. You can't lose 100 games 3 times in 4 seasons and look the other way. The Royals' aren't making enough progress. The young position players haven't shown much improvement. Gotay is still struggling defensively and offensively. In July, Gotay hit .169/.211/.197. That line makes Mark Teahan look like Hank Blalock. Teahan wasn't anything special either, posting a .233/.320/.384. Teahan still makes too many errors at 3rd base. He should develop into a good defender, but he'll need to develop power to keep his job. Hitting 5 HRs a year isn't going to cut it for a 3rd basemen, even on this team. Berroa continues to swing at bad pitches and continues to decline offensively. The greatest signs of progress are the young players arbitration clocks.

The other bothersome area is the starting rotation. It's just awful. Right now, Jose Lima is pitching the best. Zack Greinke has 13 losses already and an ERA of 6.14. I'd love to hear an explanation of why the Royals can't develop starting pitching. It's a huge problem. As much as I'd love to see the Royals sign a top starter this offseason, I'm not optimistic it will happen. First of all, that means the Royals have to be ready to pay $7-10 million a year for at least 2 years. Even if Mr. Glass is willing to write the check, what free agent starter will be willing to come to Kansas City? There might be a few who want to escape the limelight of larger markets. But, most would rather go to a larger market. So, the Royals will probably have to overpay any starter to come to Kansas City.