The Kansas City Royals Enter Offseason with Potential for Spending Power
The offseason has arrived, and the Kansas City Royals have yet to make any significant moves. While they did secure a one-year pre-arbitration contract with Taylor Clarke, the first 12 days since the World Series have been relatively quiet. However, this has been the case for most teams this winter. The only notable transaction across the league so far has been the Mark Canha trade between the Brewers and Tigers. Many teams are hesitant to spend until there is more clarity on local TV deals.
Clarity on Local TV Deals Remains Uncertain
The league has been urging Diamond Sports Group, the parent company of Bally’s Sports, to make a decision regarding MLB broadcasts for 2024 and beyond. While the network provider has announced its intention to end broadcasts after next season, it is still unclear whether they will drop broadcasts before then. This uncertainty has led many teams to hold off on free-agent spending until they have a better understanding of their local TV deal revenue. This situation could work in favor of the Royals, as it gives them more time to determine their course of action this winter.
Royals Have Potential Spending Power Despite Low Roster Cost
On one hand, the Royals have one of the lowest assigned budgets for their 26-man roster in 2024, with $52 million. However, they also had a disappointing season, losing 106 games, second only to the Athletics. As the worst team in franchise history, the Royals should have significant spending power this winter. Regardless of the final TV income, Kansas City can assume they have a cushion to make substantial investments in the team.
Getting Ahead of the Market is Crucial for the Royals
Historically, the Royals have not been known for getting ahead of the market. However, this offseason presents an opportunity for them to change that approach. Instead of worrying about overspending, the focus should be on acquiring the players the team desires, regardless of the cost. If the Royals are interested in trades, they should make their offers early to prevent other clubs from outbidding them. The prospect capital in the system may not be enough to secure top-tier players, so time is of the essence if the Royals have specific targets in mind.
Key Focus on Starting Pitching and Outfield Help
The Royals have already identified their key areas of focus this winter: starting pitching and outfield help. Top free agents like Shohei Ohtani, Aaron Nola, Blake Snell, and Cody Bellinger are expected to hold out for the best contract offers. Lower-tier free agents, such as Lucas Giolito or Rhys Hoskins, may be more open to long-term deals now to secure their future before other teams fill their needs elsewhere.
Entering Winter Meetings with a Stronger Roster
The Royals do not need to compete for the top free agents right away. Instead, they should focus on securing the players they have identified in the middle tiers and start filling their roster needs promptly. General Manager J.J. Picollo would benefit from entering the winter meetings with a couple of significant acquisitions already made. This would allow him to concentrate on finalizing the roster, unlike last offseason when the team was still rebuilding its coaching staff and front office well into December. With more time on their side this year, the Royals must seize the opportunity to strengthen their team.