Tha Sports Junkies 101

Kansas City Royals: New Year, New Team

Kansas City Royals: New Year, New Team Image via Sportsgraphics36


Kansas City Royals

The Kansas City Royals finished the 2016 season at .500 (81-81), which is a far cry from their World Series winning 2015 season (95-67). The Royals have lost some players this off-season, but they have made some moves in order to give the team the best chance for success in 2017. The Royals will probably be pushing to make the playoffs in 2017, and have another run at a possible World Series title.

Off-Season Moves:

Back in November, the Royals lost two notable players, Kendrys Morales and Edinson Volquez. In 2016, Morales posted some solid power numbers (30 HR, 93 RBI), and Volquez had a less than stellar season in which his ERA ballooned to its highest point since 2013 (5.37). Other members of the bullpen also elected free agency such as Luke Hochevar and Tim Collins.

Jorge Soler

Jorge Soler – Photo Credit: TiVo_epaper Flickr

The bullpen was also thinned out when the Royals traded closer Wade Davis to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder Jorge Soler. This trade can definitely seem risky for Kansas City because Wade Davis is one of the top closers in the game, where as Jorge Soler has been sent to the DL many times in his major league career, which has only allowed him to play one, 100 game season. However, the Royals staff is confident that Soler will develop into a solid outfielder.

Nathan Karns

Nathan Karns – Photo Credit: Doug MacD Flickr

Another big trade for Kansas City this off-season was trading center fielder Jarrod Dyson for relief pitcher Nathan Karns. Karns had a decent season with the Seattle Mariners in 2016 producing a 6-2 record with a 5.15 ERA over 94 1/3 innings. Those numbers definitely could see some improvement. Karns did have an impressive 2015 season with the Tampa Bay Rays so the Royals pitching staff will be working with Karns to get his numbers back up to that of his 2015 season.

The Kansas City Royals have also signed many other players to minor league deals with some receiving invitations to spring training, but a minor trade between Kansas City and the Arizona Diamondbacks took place earlier this month. The Royals sent minor league pitcher Sam Lewis to Arizona in exchange for left fielder Peter O’Brien. O’Brien has some experience in the majors, but he will likely be assigned to Triple-A Omaha due to Paulo Orlando and Billy Burns being more experienced platoon swaps for the outfield.

Expectations For 2017:

The Kansas City Royals are still going to try to be a contender for the division championship and the wild card spot in 2017. The roster had minimal losses from the starting rotation and the infield, with major pieces such as Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon still remaining in the outfield. The club obviously hopes that the trade for Jorge Soler will add a reliable outfielder to fill the gap left by Jarrod Dyson. With Kansas City’s All-stars, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez, returning for 2017, the Royals will look to improve their year at the plate. With players such as Whit Merrifield and Paulo Orlando continuing to develop their hitting skills, 2017 could be a solid season for the Royals offense.

That said, the Royals bullpen is pretty thin right now. The new closer is Kelvin Herrera which is not a bad thing. Herrera had a decent season last year in which he produced a record of 2-6 with a 2.75 ERA and 12 saves in 15 opportunities. Kelvin has a good fastball and a solid curve to accompany the fastball. The rest of the bullpen, however, is very thin with the most experienced member being Joakim Soria who had a down year in 2016. Nathan Karns is currently listed as the fifth man in the starting rotation, but he may end up moving to the bullpen if they believe he can become a good set-up man.


The Royals have filled some gaps in the outfield and kept the same infield from 2016; they should also have a solid offense for 2017. Look for Kansas City to try to trade for more relief pitching during the rest of this off-season, which would help close down tight games which would be an improvement from 2016. The Royals rotation is the same as last year, which is headlined by Danny Duffy. The Royals may want to trade for another strong pitcher to help guide the team to the post season.