In extending Danny Duffy through 2021, the Kansas City Royals are starting to put together their core for the future.
The 2017 season was supposed to mark the end of the Kansas City Royals window of opportunity. With eleven potential free agents at the end of the year, if the Royals were going to contend, it would be this year. However, after trading Wade Davis and Jarrod Dyson, it appeared as though the Royals were waiving the white flag on this season.
Of course, that does not count in the arbitration cases. When those are factored in, the recently acquired Nathan Karns gives the Royals a potentially interesting starting rotation. Youngsters like Raul Mondesi and Hunter Dozier could be contributing at the Major League level as well, giving the Royals the youth needed to supplement that core of veterans.
In reality, the pieces that the Royals traded away were more or less expendable. Even with Davis having been traded, the Royals should still have a strong back end of the bullpen with Kelvin Herrera closing and Joakim Soria setting up. And, it is possible that they bring back Luke Hochevar and/or Greg Holland as well, further solidifying the relief core.
Likewise, for as much as Dyson was a fan favorite, he was still best suited as a fourth outfielder. His blazing speed and excellent defense are certainly notable, but the Royals have similar players in Billy Burns and Paulo Orlando. It is, again, a matter of using those assets to rebuild the core for the future.
Yes, it may have looked as though the Royals were selling before the season even began. And yes, there is some degree of truth to that. But the fact of the matter was, the Royals apparently were not planning on bringing either player back after this year. By cashing those chips in now, they received pieces they have identified as possible contributors to the next championship run.
Maybe the window of opportunity is not closing for the Kansas City Royals after all. Instead, maybe they have identified a way to keep that window open through the rest of the decade. Extending Danny Duffy goes a long way to that goal of remaining in contention.