Let me first start by saying I am a diehard Royals fan.
Ok, lets look at the AL. The Royals are now in third place in the Central. The odds of the Tigers falling flat on their face are slim to none. The Tigers are 7 games up on the Royals. The Indians are up a game and a half.
In the West three times are ahead of KC. The A’s and Angels even further out in front than the Tigers. Then Seattle is there at 52 wins. In the East The O’s, Jays and Yanks are all up on the Royals. The White Sox, Red Sox, and Rays are all hanging around with the Royals.
Now I would love for the Royals to go out and get another ace but I know that isn’t going to happen. I know there is not a ton of cash coming from management to bring in new talent via trade or free agency next year.
So, what should the team do? This was the year we have all been told was worth waiting for since back in 2004.
1. Keep Billy Butler this year and get him to take less than 12.5 mil next year. Billy has had a down year and can’t do anything other than hit. I have never been a big fan of 1/5 of the salary going to a DH.
2. Trade Billy for what you can get for him this season saving money this season and next for a more productive player. By my rough count shipping Billy out saves the team around 18-20mil over the next two seasons.
3. Keep Billy for this season and then tell him to walk or take 5-6 mil next year.
Big Game James
1. Keep him for the rest of this season and let him try and pitch the team into the playoffs. The odds of a playoff push seem to be getting farther and farther away each day. If Shields leave the Royals do get a 1st rounder next year in the draft but I honestly could careless about that.
2. Put him on the market trade him for young cheap prospects.
3. Put him on the market and take back a big leaguer who is on a bad contract but make his old team pick up a large chunk of that contract.
1. Keep them all
2. Trade away one or two guys that are due for huge salary jumps.
1. Keep Vargas
2. Trade him as fast as you can because you didn’t like his contract he signed this summer with the team.
These are the options as I see them.
This is the plan that I like
I like the idea of trading Billy Butler for a team that is willing to take on his salary and still send back a decent prospect only if it is part of a bigger plan.
This bigger plan would be to open the bidding on Shields and possibly Vargas. I would offer Shields a large contract extension this week. If he turns it down I start shopping him. I would also let it be known that Vargas is on the market. He has pitched very well this season but I still think his 4 year deal will come to hurt the team in year 3 0r 4.
If Shields turns down a long term deal at market value I call the Dodgers, the Cardinals, and the M’s right off the bat. Shields is a rental but I think all three of these teams have the money to keep him long term as well as the prospects to make a deal. The Dodgers also have a ton of outfield talent. Someone has to go eventually. If I am the Royals I ask for Kemp or Either and tell the Dodgers to pick up part of the bill. If Kemp is the target the Dodgers have to kick in more obviously but a deal built around Shields for Kemp and say 35 million and a low level prospect would allow the Dodgers to ad to their rotation without dealing away prospects. The Dodgers get to cut ties with Kemp for a small fee. Kemp gives the Royals a star on a deal that the team could stomach. Trading shields saves the Royals some cash that can be put towards Kemp. In this deal you also trade Butler saving the team another 20 mil that can be put towards Kemp. The Royals can call up Zimmer to finish the season hoping that Kemp’s bat and Zimmer ad a spark.
The Cardinals have fewer bad contracts but they do have more young talent. If the Cardinals believe the price on price is too high Davis could be an option. The something is true with the M’s
The idea of trading Vargas comes down to what a team will offer. I think that Royals have to be thinking about making bold moves that keeps the hope alive for next season while still being able to make a run at this year.