The Kansas City Star’s Bradford Doolittle puts together a list of current Royals combined with retro-Royals and ends up with a decent team, with an $83 million payroll:
Doolittle projects that this squad would have finished the All-Star break at 56-31, the third-best mark in baseball, arguing that the improved batting (particularly in the outfield) would add 6.45 wins. A nifty infield defense would add 3.60 wins, and a so-so pitching staff, would give the Royals 3.04 added wins. All together, that’s 13.09 wins more than the 31 wins they posted last week.
It’s a pretty solid thought process, but the starting staff is still a glaring weakness. Simply consider the Red Sox could compile a staff of Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, and Josh Beckett, each of whom is a far superior alternative to any one of the Royals’ choices. It’s also somewhat flawed in that pitchers like Shouse, Gordon, Lieber, and Suppan’s stats would likely have to be adjusted after a switch from the NL.
“Just to tread water with a composite minus-1 wins added, the starting crew sets you back almost $24 million,” Doolittle writes. “It’s a classic problem of supply and demand. Apparently, all the mediocre arms have been squirreled away by OPEC. At the same time, this reinforces the notion that the Royals must develop their own pitching. It’s just too expensive to buy, especially with Scott Boras still a practicing materialist.”
Over the past two years, Fenway has seen Jon Lester and Jonathan Papelbon rise from the shine of the Red Sox farm system. The Detroit Tigers have stormed to baseball’s best record backed on the strength of their young arms. And in Kansas City, even under ideal circumstances, Byrd (6-6, 4.26 ERA with Cleveland this season) is likely your No. 1 ace. More than David Glass’ refusal to spend cash, this is why they fail.