5 MORE MUSTS FOR THE KANSAS CITY ROYALS
1. Move P Joakim Soria to the starting rotation. Why? Because it would give the Royals one of the best rotations in the big leagues, especially if this year's starters continue their performance into 2010. Imagine the Royals trotting out these five: Zack Greinke, Gil Meche, Soria, Brian Bannister, and then either a young gun, such as Luke Hochevar, or a veteran such as Kyle Davies. Such a rotation should make Royals fans salivate instead of shuddering throughout 2010.
2. Trade for P George Sherrill. The Royals should trade IF/OF Mark Teahen (who has a few more years under team control) and a young arm to the Orioles for Sherrill, who has done well as Baltimore's closer. If he and relievers Kyle Farnsworth and Juan Cruz pitch to their ability, the Royals bullpen should be stronger in 2010, even without Soria closing the door.
3. Pick up options. The Royals team showed promise early in 2009 thanks to great pitching (and game-calling) and defense. Two contributors to that were CF Covelli "Coco" Crisp and C Miguel Olivo. Olivo performed decently in the batter's box as well, and Crisp is speed the team needs to keep. The Royals must be focused on pitching and defense if they hope to contend in 2010.
4. Sign 2B Akinori Iwamura. An ugly season-ending injury hurts Aki's chances of the Rays picking up his option next year, so it's very possible he becomes a free agent in the fall. If so, the Royals must bid for him. Iwamura would provide the Royals with World Series and playoff experience, speed at the top of the order, above-average defense, and would quickly become a fan favorite.
5. Trade for OF Jeff Franceour. Now hear me out before you shoot me. We know Frenchy's overpaid and perhaps overrated, but he is still young and still full of above-average potential. Obviously the Braves hope to contend in 2009, and it's clear Franceour could be had at a low price, so it would make sense for both clubs--financially and from a baseball standpoint--to swap P Ron Mahay for Franceour; or, if the Braves are willing to add payroll (they've said they're not), Franceour could be sent to KC in a package (would 2B Kelly Johnson make sense--in case of an Iwamura-signing never coming to fruition?) for OF Jose Guillen.
Suggested 2010 batting order...
1. Iwamura 2B
2. David DeJesus LF
3. Guillen RF
4. Billy Butler DH
5. Mike Jacobs 1B
6. Alex Gordon 3B
7. Olivo C
8. Mike Aviles SS
9. Crisp CF
...and 2010 rotation
5. Hochevar / Davies