CATCHER: A better defense is a priority, and a big part of
that initiative is stabilizing the catching situation
divided last year between current free agent Miguel Olivo
and returning John Buck. Wanted: a strong everyday
presence able to block balls, throw well and call a good
CENTER FIELDER: Last year's answer, Coco Crisp, was hurt
and then became a free agent. Still available, he could
return if his repaired shoulders are deemed OK and the
money is right. If not, another speedster is on the wish
list, and the Mets' Angel Pagan is among those mentioned.
STARTING PITCHER: A take-charge left-hander would be
preferable, although any lefty would be a welcome change
for the rotation. The Royals haven't had a regular lefty
starter in the past two seasons. Free agent Erik Bedard is
among many discussed.
Who they can or need to trade
2B Alberto Callaspo: By obtaining Chris Getz in the deal
for Mark Teahen, the Royals can deal switch-hitter
Callaspo. By hitting .300 with unexpected power in 2009,
Callaspo might be at his optimum value now. His defense
isn't the best, and his best position is probably third
RF Jose Guillen: Hampered by injuries last season, he says
he's healthy now. The big problem is that he is due $12
million on the last year of his contract. A plus could be
he's likely to be inspired to great heights approaching
C John Buck: Never the power hitter that he was expected
to be, Buck lost his starting job last year to Olivo. Good
on defense except in his ability to gun down runners, he
has a fine reputation for calling games.
RHP Brian Bannister: Given to periods of brilliance
tempered by slumps and last season's tired shoulder,
Bannister is a thinking-man's pitcher who has attracted
trade attention before. He's 28-37 in three years with KC.
RHP Kyle Davies: After another up-and-down year, Davies at
26 could be on the brink of finding himself. He's had fits
of excellence but his inconsistency has given him a 20-23
mark in his three KC seasons. Harnessing his fastball has
been a struggle.
DH Mike Jacobs: After starting last season as the first
baseman, he was primarily a DH. His power didn't carry
over well to the AL and he went from 32 homers for the
Marlins to 19 for the Royals. He hit a career-low .228.
LF David DeJesus: Always a popular name in trade rumor
mills, the Royals aren't likely to part with him unless
overwhelmed in a deal. Terrific all year defensively, he
bounced back from a slow start and hit .309 in his last 91
LHP Dusty Hughes, who could fill a lefty void, was
impressive after switching to starting in his last month
at Triple-A Omaha. OF David Lough hit .325 and showed a
good combination of power (14 homers) and speed (14
steals) for Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Class A
Wilmington. LHP Danny Duffy led the organization with a
2.98 ERA and was 9-3 with a 3-to-1 strikeout ratio for
Wilmington. RHP Aaron Crow, the team's top Draft choice in 2009, is on the Major League roster.
Big contracts they might unload
Guillen's $12 million contract certainly jumps to mind.
But there's also the $4.5 million remaining on the second
year of Farnsworth's deal.
LHP John Bale, RHP Brian Bannister, C John Buck, RHP Roman
Colon, RHP Kyle Davies, 3B Alex Gordon, 1B Mike Jacobs,
RHP Robinson Tejeda.
Total compensation for 2009 was reported at $81,740,669
after starting the season at about $70.5 million. The
latter figure is a likely goal for the initial 25-man
roster, but owner David Glass has proven upwardly flexible
in the past couple of years.