Kelly’s Westport Inn and The Kansas City Baseball Vault Presents: Troy’s out, Ben’s in.

We’re still waiting for Dayton Moore to make a move, but in the meantime, we figured we’d make some recommendations for him, in case he’s listening.

Troy was out, so we had Ben Nielsen of KC Kingdom help out and we discussed seizing the opportunity this offseason and finding options to upgrade. That meant we had to deal with the probability that Ervin Santana is going to sign elsewhere and what options are out there in his place. The starting pitching market has some intriguing arms, but the Royals have primarily been linked to three – Tim Hudson, Josh Johnson, and Phil Hughes. Two stood out to us as fits (Johnson and Hughes), and even though the Royals seem like they only want to sign one, we figured they could possibly sign both if they wanted.

But pitching isn’t the only area of need. We tossed around the idea of what a David Lough/Justin Maxwell platoon might mean if they can fill the spot together well enough for the lineup to score runs. In a vacuum, they seem like fine options to produce something, but we weren’t all sold on how well they’d fit this particular Royals team. So we picked Carlos Beltran and Curtis Granderson as potential signees for the outfield (but neither are perfect options).

Then there’s second base. The Royals really haven’t had a great second baseman for a while, and there’s not much out on the market either. Kelly Johnson is available. So is Mark Ellis, but m’eh. The biggest name that may be available is Brandon Phillips of the Reds. We were split on if he could fit, or on what the cost would be. Would he upgrade the second base position? Almost certainly, but at what cost? That might be the key question of the offseason for the Royals.

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