It's time for another installment of From the Other Side. This time, I'm featuring the Kansas City Royals and I've gotten the help of Ray W from Royals on Radio Etc, which provides a listing of all the Royals radio network stations as well as a blog on the Royals. I'd like to thank him for his help on this feature.
1. What are your thoughts on the Zack Greinke trade and the Royals' other offseason moves?
Ray W: The Greinke trade was a great one for the Royals, sure it hurt to lose Zack a guy whom, we all watched fight through his personal struggles to eventually win the Al Cy Young. But the fact is he wanted out of Kc, and I believe if he would have stayed I don't know if he'd have given 100 percent. And what the Royals got in return for Zack (and Yuniesky Betancourt) were four solid guys. A SS who really fills a need and should be there for years to come in Alcides Escobar, a 100 mph throwing pitcher in Jeremy Jeffress, a speedy OF in Lorenzo Cain and pretty darn good pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi. So the Royals were able to take a possibly bad situation with Zack and stock up on even more depth. Besides the Greinke trade, earlier in the offseason we traded fan favorite CF David DeJesus to the A's for Starter Vin Mazzaro. The outfield depth made David expendable, and the Major League rotation is the biggest fault on the team currently. I wasn't fond of the trade at first, but looking at it now it's kind of a toss up. The only other major moves were just one year stop gap signings, to bide time while we wait for the prospects to arrive. (Melky Cabrera, Jeff Francoeur, Jeff Francis).
2. The Royals are consistently ranked as having one of the best farm systems in baseball. With that in mind, how close are they to being competitive again?
Ray W: This is the season were everything looks like it'll start to come together. Look for the big name prospects: Moustakas, Hosmer, Myers and Montgomery to get some playing time with Royals, late in the season. And be playing "hopefully" everyday in 2012. If most of the prospects pan out, and they should I'd expect a winner on the field by 2014 if not sooner. Key words there are, "most of the prospects". We've got so much talent right now that unlike in the past, we can afford a miss or two.
3. Is this a "make-it-or-break-it" year for Alex Gordon?
Ray W: Career wise I don't think so, I'm still high on Alex and he should become a solid middle of the order bat, and constantly hit in the vicinity of 20 home runs, and a .270 Avg. The big question is, will that happen with the Royals ? And that I don't know, one look at John Buck should show you what I mean.If he can't progress and put it together in Kc this year I don't believe he ever will in a Royals Uniform. But he is off to a pretty hot start this year.
4. What is the perception of the Tigers from the Royals' community and how do you expect them to fare this year?
Ray W: The Tigers are thought of as one of the more likable teams in the AL Central by the Royals community.Not necessarily a team your going to go out and root for, but more of a "far better if Detroit, wins then say the Sox or Twins". And I think a lot of that dates back to the 2002 and 2003 seasons when the Tigers made the Royals feel good about themselves. lol And for the most part Tiger fans are one of the easiest fans to get along with. Of course there are exceptions, but that's with any team. If the Royals aren't in it, I'll be pulling for the Tigers to win the Central. Now with all that said I regret saying I think the Tigers finish third behind the Twins, and White Sox.
5. Do you have any other random predictions about this season?
Ray W: Random huh ? Hmm.. I'll say the Royals will get two All-Stars this year, Joakim Soria, and Billy Butler. Look for the Royals to stay near the bottom of the division all year, go through a couple hot streaks before cooling back down by the All Star break. Post All Star break look for the team to start getting some of the young talent up. Also manager Ned Yost has stated that the Royals will be much more aggressive on the base paths and so far they've not disappointed. So steals is definitely something to keep an eye on and see if the trend continues. Overall this Royals team just has a different feel to it then in years past, and I can not put my finger on why that is. Finally I'll predict that this will be one of, if not the last of, the bottom dwelling Royals teams for quite awhile.