After many decades of hoping, the Kansas City Royals enter training camp as World Series champions. Along with their appearance in game 7 of the 2014 World Series, this excellence is a result of GM Dayton Moore’s changing the culture via a strong core of position players and a stellar bullpen. Two of last year’s playoff stars are no longer in Royals uniforms as right-hander Johnny Cueto left for a six-year deal with the San Francisco Giants and second baseman/outfielder Ben Zobrist was stolen away by a hefty four-year $56 million deal by the Chicago Cubs. Kansas City will be looking for a repeat performance from ace Edinson Volquez, as he excelled last season with a 3.55 ERA over a whopping 200 innings in his first year with the club. A bounce back in 2016 and some maturation from Yordano Ventura will be highly anticipated after a subpar outing in 2015. The acquisition of veteran right-hander Ian Kennedy should bolster the remaining rotation along with an improved season from leftie Danny Duffy. Wade Davis, who has been dominant over the past few seasons will inherit a larger role in the bullpen with Greg Holland out due to Tommy John surgery and will be joined by Kelvin Herrera, Luke Hochevar, Joakim Soria and Tim Collins. Gold Glove winner Alcides Escobar will be in at shortstop while second base is a question mark for the Royals so far this season. It seems former first round pick Christian Colon will challenge the ageing Omar Infante
for that spot in the lineup. Kansas City’s corner infield is set with Mike Moustakas at third base and Eric Hosmer at first as both are solid all around. Left fielder Alex Gordon re-signed with the Royals in January for the heftiest contract in franchise history at four years, $72 million.
Although the 2016 version of the Royals roster is slightly different with not as much depth to it as in past years, they are certainly capable of a deep playoff run for the third consecutive season. Fans and Kansas City Royals ticket holders should feel confident in this club this season and secure their Kansas City Royals tickets for plenty of games this summer.
The Kansas City Royals are one of those franchises that are deeply underappreciated. They do not have the pennant (2) or World Series totals (1) that particularly shines when compared to the rest of the MLB. Of course, the Royals are also one of the younger teams. They were added as part of the westward expansion of the league in the 1960s and the fans suffered through some difficult seasons, but the payoff was more than worth it.
From 1975 to 1985 the team never finished lower than second in the AL West and played in the postseason seven times. The Royals reached the World Series twice, winning one. These Kansas City teams enjoyed a roster with third baseman George Brett, second baseman Frank White, and an incredible starting rotation. Somehow the team ended up with Bud Black, Danny Jackson, David Cone, and Bret Saberhagen on the mound.
This collection of talent led to a 97-win summer in 1980 and a trip to the World Series, the franchise’s first. Unfortunately, though Kansas City was finally able to take down the Yankees in the ALCS (New York had beaten the club three times), they were not able to beat the Philadelphia Phillies. Five years later, the Royals won 91 games, Brett Saberhagen won the Cy Young Award, and KC beat the Cardinals in the I-70 Series.
In the years since, the Kansas City Royals struggled to produce the kind of offense that could take the baseball team back to the postseason. The team has, however, been able to develop great pitchers, such as Zack Greinke.
Never a big spender, the club has starting rebuilding through the farm system again. But, at least the team plays its home games at Kauffman Stadium, which remains one of the most exquisite venues in professional sports, even after the retro ballpark era.