Big contracts weigh down Royals

By Steve Sell
August 25, 2017

Friday's favorites while encouraging everyone to attend tonight's Bullpup Fall Preview at McPherson Stadium...

• BIG CONTRACTS AN ALBATROSS FOR ROYALS — You sometimes hear about NBA players restructuring their contracts in order for their teams to be able to add more players by freeing up some extra millions.

That got me to thinking about the Kansas City Royals and their five impending free agents — linchpins Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and Jason Vargas.

Then I look at the contracts that are like cement shoes for the Royals, dragging them down. 

I'm talking about those of Alex Gordon and Ian Kennedy.

Gordon is practically halfway through his 4-year, $72 million contract that rewarded him more for longevity and loyalty to the team than his production. Gordon batted .220 last year (granted he was injured), but this year he's been under .200 and spends most of the time rolling over on weak ground balls. He's still a defensive stalwart, but how many runs does he actually prevent? 

Kennedy was given $70 million over five years starting in 2016, even though he'd had only moderate success in his career. He's 4-9 this year with an ERA over 5.00 and has yet to win at home. What's worse, he's not even going six innings a game and that puts a load on the bullpen.

Gordon and Kennedy certainly have to know what a drain their deals are on the team. And given the money the Royals need to pony up, maybe they'll do what's good for the team and restructure. After all, both have more money than they'll ever be able to spend and even if they would give back a few million apiece, that might be enough to help sign one of the five free agents.

• NOT A FAN OF THE BIG “FIGHT” — P.T. Barnum once said “there’s a sucker born every minute.”

That’s kind of how I feel about the alleged fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor Saturday night in Las Vegas.

The going rate for the pay per view fight is reportedly id="mce_marker"00 and what a waste of money it’s going to be for those buy into this sham.

Mayweather, despite what you think of him, is one of the greatest boxers of all time, having never been defeated in 49 fights. Some might question some of the competition he has faced, but nevertheless he’s never tasted defeat.

McGregor is a mixed martial arts fighter, which combines as much wrestling with boxing. There’s a big difference in the two sports and I have to wonder if things start going badly for him if he’ll revert to his wrestling and try to take down Mayweather, a violation of the rules.

My guess is that McGregor will have a hard time landing one clean punch. If the best in boxing can’t do it, how will McGregor?

My whole belief is these two guys have gotten together to make a pile of money and despite all the hype, this is going to be an unmitigated flop.

• HOW MANY BACKS WILL KC KEEP? — The Chiefs are flush with running backs.

But in the pass-happy NFL, how many backs do you really need?

Spencer Ware is a lock. So is blocking back Anthony Sherman, also a special teams maven. Kareem Hunt was picked in the third round, so he's not going anywhere.

The question now is do the Chiefs keep Charcandrick West or CJ Spiller or both?

West has been quite serviceable in his career. He's not a big back, but shifty and reliable. Spiller is 30 and has been productive in his career. He once was the No. 9 overall pick in the draft whose best days were with Buffalo.

The problem with Spiller is the Chiefs aren't sure just how much he has left. And they're worried if they cut him, he will go somewhere else and flourish.

Spiller is a little thicker and more accomplished. West may not be quite as versatile.

But my guess is the Chiefs will keep West and allow Spiller to find another team, which he would do quickly. It's a nice problem to have.