Kansas City on the road to respectability
Originally Published: November 10, 2007By Phil Rogers | Special to ESPN.com
There are times when baby steps aren't such a bad thing. The Royals were a prime case.While they still finished last for a fourth consecutive season, they avoided making it four seasons in a row with 100 losses. In one stretch they went 51-49, building hope they might really have improved to mediocre, but lost 18 of their last 25 games to finish behind the White Sox.
GM: Dayton Moore
Manager: Trey Hillman
'07 record: 69-93, 5th AL Central
'07 payroll: $67.4M, 22nd MLB
Runs scored: 706, 13th AL
Runs allowed: 778, 8th AL
OPS: .710, 14th AL
ERA: 4.48, 7th AL
Fielding percentage: .982, T-11th AL
Primary needs1. Power hitting. The Royals were the only team in the AL that didn't have a player with 20-plus home runs -- only rookie third baseman Alex Gordon and catcher John Buck even reached double figures in home runs. Combined with a lack of speed, it was no surprise the Royals were 13th in the league in runs. 2. Leadoff man. The Royals were 12th in the AL with a .343 on-base percentage at the leadoff spot (ahead of division rivals Minnesota and Chicago). 3. Left fielder. Emil Brown and Joey Gathright were the primary players in a mix that finished the season with a .660 OPS, the lowest in the AL at that position.
Free agentsDH/1B Mike Sweeney Moore's first priority seems to be a corner outfielder with power, putting Jose Guillen and Geoff Jenkins in play.