The Royals have long been known as an organization that tends to spend very, very conservatively in regard to their free agent and trade acquisitions. Much more of a seller than a buyer, which given that they're a small market team, has long been justified. In the age though of small market teams spending big bucks to build their rosters for the here and now rather than the long-term future (or doing a combination of both, much like the Rays and Mariners) the Royals have continued to stick to their guns in keeping money in-house and not overpursuing any big names, or really just any names that didn't bite on their initial offer. That is, until now. The Royals have been actively trading and acquiring free agents for the first time in about 10 years or so, and in a division as weak as the AL Central is now, being good right here, right now matters more than ever. Capitalize on a weak division and give your prospects time to develop while still having a contending team. A strategy never seen before in the Royals organization really, as back in 2014 and 2015 prospects DIDN'T develop which is what left us here. The Royals have a promising future with their newest prospect acquisitions, along with some solid young guys on the Major League team right now that if developed correctly, could turn into forces of nature.
What players did the Royals acquire though to be good right here, right now, you may ask? To start, and this may shock you, they are building their bullpen with starters and relievers that aren't washed up and/or garbage. The Royals added pitchers Seth Lugo, Chris Stratton, Will Smith, and Michael Wacha via trade. All these pitchers have had good to great outings for playoff contenders such as the Padres and Rangers. Smith even started his career as a Royal and is now back with the team on a one-year deal. They have also added some batting power in OF Hunter Renfroe, who will bring some much-needed oompf to the KC bats. Finally, they've added a host of minor league players that should also develop nicely, as they are from good minor league systems and show major promise.
Overall, seeing the Royals active in the offseason is refreshing and invigorating. Yes, it comes at a cost, as pitchers Taylor Clarke and Dillon Coleman both had to be shipped off as a price for the new guard, as well as outfielder Edward Olivares, but having a fresh new lease on players and personnel may just be what the Royals need to get into the win column. As I said earlier, the Royals are usually duds or sellers in the offseason, so seeing them acquire legitimate talent is awesome. Here's to hoping it doesn't stop here. I was one of the naysayers who said the Royals would spend more of their money on these ludicrous ideas of new stadiums, but I am more than happy to be proven wrong. Still, I hope that the Royals don't sink anything damning to the organization's player core into these ideas. I'm still not fully convinced they won't, but this is a more than welcome sight. Thank you, JJ Picollo, and...ugh...Thank you, John Sherman...(don't screw it up)