Kansas City Royals executives are meeting to decide how to handle walk year stars Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, Danny Duffy, and Wade Davis in light of the new collective bargaining agreement.
News of this meeting comes from New York Post sportswriter Joel Sherman:
New CBA bad for #Royals. Their execs meeting tonight to discuss how to move forward with walk yr stars Cain, Davis, Duffy, Hosmer, Moustakas
I’m a bit puzzled why Sherman would say that the new CBA is bad for the KC Royals. I suppose he’s getting that information from a source inside the Kansas City front office. But, under the new free-agent compensation rules, the Kansas City Royals should still be in line to get picks after the first round if they lose their stars in free agency next winter. KC receives revenue sharing and I’d expect most of the Royals players would sign for over $50 million. If not, why wouldn’t Kansas City be in the running to retain them?
I suspect the problem is that the new CBA lowered the draft penalties for teams that sign qualified free agents. In the old CBA, such clubs gave up their first round pick unless they were one of the top 10 selections (in which case they surrendered their next highest pick).
Under the new rules, a team that receives revenue sharing will have to give up their third highest pick. Teams that pay revenue sharing will give up their second and fifth highest pick in the draft. Meanwhile, teams in the middle will give up their third highest draft pick for signing a free-agent with a qualifying offer.
Perhaps the Kansas City front office fears that the lower penalty will push free-agent offers higher, making it more difficult for them to retain targeted players. Paired with an unnamed insider telling Kansas City Star columnist Sam Mellinger about the Royals losing out on outfielder Josh Reddick due to owner David Glass refusing to approve more spending, it seems there’s some uncertainty among the KC leadership about how to handle the upcoming season.
Could the KC Royals decide to hold a fire sale instead of trying to win this season? I suppose it’s possible, but I doubt it. Instead, I suspect this meeting is just to come to a consensus about the club’s strategy for the upcoming Winter Meetings on December 8.
However, one thing is clear to me. General manager Dayton Moore is going to have make some trades if he is going to make any kind of meaningful changes to his roster.