#3 Kansas City Royals
Just two years removed from a World Series title in 2015, the Kansas City Royals enter the 2017 season with an interesting dilemma. They still have most of the core from their championship team, but almost every one of those players is in danger of testing the free agency waters after 2017. Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain just to name a few.
Although attendance has been on the rise, Kansas City does not have the financial flexibility to bring back most of their major pieces. If the Royals are not in contention by the non-waiver July 31st trade deadline, it may be time to depart with some of their star talent. Kansas City’s lineup does not boast much power but relies on a classic contact and speed approach to score their runs. Hosmer, Moustakas, and catcher Salvador Perez provide the little power KC has in their lineup. The back end of their bullpen is not what it once was but it still stands as one of the better pens’ in the American League.
The problem for KC staying in contention will be their starting pitching. It will be hard to replace the late Yordano “Ace” Ventura in the rotation but the addition of Jason Hammel should suffice. Danny Duffy now emerges as the team ace with league average pitchers such as Ian Kennedy and Nate Karns to follow.
It would not surprise me to see the Royals give it one last push at the deadline to acquire pieces to get them to the postseason, but I hardly see that being the case. It appears that this could be the final year that Kansas City keeps their World Series winning core together. 2017 will be bittersweet for the Royal faithful.