We all knew going into this season that it would be a struggle for the Kansas City Royals.
Losing Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain to free agency in the offseason was the first signal that dark days were ahead. Mike Moustakas was expected to follow suit, but when teams backed away he re-signed with the Royals, easing the blow somewhat.
The Royals were World Champions in 2015 after losing the year before in the Series to the San Francisco Giants. But their success came with a price, as they emptied an already threadbare farm system to acquire Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto and their stars who led the team to its zenith became too expensive to keep.
I really thought the Royals were looking at 95 to 100 losses entering this year. They did little in the offseason to add to the club, but I don’t think anyone imagined they would be this awful.
The Royals are on pace for an historic June, but for all the wrong reasons. They are 4-19 and three of those wins came when the pitching staff threw a shutout. They won those games 2-0, 1-0 and 2-0, with the other June win being 5-4. They have scored 48 runs this month, just over 2 per game.
They have not scored at least five runs in a game since June 2. In nine games this month, they have scored a run or less.
The numbers are ego-sapping. Longtime All-Star Salvador Perez is in the most hideous slump of his career. He has sunk to .214 and continues to get himself out by swinging at pitches out of the strike zone.
Another former All-Star, Alex Gordon, has 15 RBIs in 63 games. He’s in the midst of a contract that pays him id="mce_marker"8 million a year.
The only consistent run producer, Moustakas, will soon be with another club. He’s again a free agent and the Royals are going to move him for a package of prospects because there’s no way he’s going to stick around for a massive rebuild.
Jorge Soler was providing some pop in the middle, but he’s out indefinitely with an injury and nobody knows when he’ll be back. Lucas Duda, a proven pro, missed more than a month with an injury, which didn’t help.
Alcides Escobar officially went under the Mendoza Line last night as he’s at .199 and is also out the door after this season as Adalberto Mondesi is going to be the everyday shortstop next year, even though his bat is also light.
All the offensive outages have taken the focus off the pitching, which at times hasn’t been bad. Brad Keller has been a find as a starter. Jakob Junis looked like a star in the making for two months, but he’s been under home-run siege in June. Expected bell cows Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy and Jason Hammel are a combined 6-23. With Kelvin Herrera having been traded, there’s no definite closer as it’s now by committee, a far cry from the H-D-H days when the Royals had a “W” secured with a lead after six innings.
The Royals have the worst record in baseball now and the biggest problem is that no help is on the way. They have to hope for some hits in the draft and probably overpay for a free agent or two. Anyway you look at it, it’s going to be a long rebuild.