If you are like myself, the winter meetings are marketed on the calendar in bold. The event that is more anticipated than any other in the Holiday season. But this year it sort of feels like Kansas City, is pretty well set entering the annual event. So instead of making any predictions. Let's just try to figure out what the Royals could do, because unlike most years, the possibilities are short.
1. Sign utility man. The Royals are rumored to be interested in acquiring a left handed hitting back up utility infielder that can back up the middle infield positions. Royals fans have particularly gravitated towards the idea of bringing back light hitting and smooth fielding Andres Blanco.
2. Sign right handed third baseman. This possibility has been suggested a few times. Obviously the Royals are going to want to play Moustakas a vast majority of the time, but if the Royals are going to attempt to contend this season, strategically it would make sense to bring in a righty that could handle some of the tougher lefties. In my personal opinion, if the Royals do bring in a back up third baseman, he needs to have some power so that the Royals would have a power option on the bench.
3. Trade of Joakim Soria. With the Royals being so strong in the bullpen, and the closer free agent market being so expensive this winter the Royals could cash in on Joakim Soria. I don't think this move is likely, but when listing possibilities it has to be brought up.
4. Trade for a front end starter. I would be shocked if the Royals decided to take the plunge and trade some big time prospects for a starter. However, if the Royals find the price to be right, this is a possibility for the Winter Meetings.
5. Minor trade. The Royals have some blocked minor leaguers. Specifically I'm talking about David Lough and Clint Robinson. Neither of these guys figures prominently into the Royals long term plan, so I could envision them being flipped. Personally I'd hang on to them as depth options for at least another year, before actively looking to move them.
6. Sign a back up outfielder. I look at our outfielders and I would be comfortable if the Royals elected to go into the season with Maier and/or Dyson as the back up outfielders. But something tells me Dayton Moore really wants to improve the bench, and perhaps add a veteran. I also, get a feeling that Dayton Moore would like a back up plan should Cain not produce as the organization is hoping. Preferably the back up would be a lefty or switch hitter. Free agents that would fit this bill include: Rick Ankiel, Endy Chavez, Coco Crisp, Nate McLouth, and Dewayne Wise.
7. Sign a starter. The Royals have been clear the past couple of days that they are uncomfortable with the price of the free agent market and if pitching is acquired it will come via trade. However, would anyone be shocked if this was simply posturing? Not me. I'm not expecting another free agent starter to be added this week, but I don't think it is out of the realm of possibility.
8. Sign a back up catcher. It is rare for a team to go through a season with two rookie catchers. While the Royals also have Pena under team control for 2012, I don't think anyone would be surprised if the Royals added a gritty back up catcher to the mix.
Overall, there is a slight possibility the Royals could make a splash move and truly cement themselves as a contender for 2012. However, what I expect is for the Royals to stay the course and for any further additions to come via free agency in an attempt to build the best bench possible.