Puckett’s Pond’s series on the Minnesota Twins’ American League Central rivals continues with the Kansas City Royals, last years’ fourth place team.
With baseball still postponed, the Minnesota Twins’ push to win the AL Central will have to wait. With that in mind, Puckett’s Pond will break down the other teams in the AL Central, and how they stack up against the Twins.
We took a look at the Chicago White Sox on Friday, the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, and the series continues today with a look at the Kansas City Royals. The Royals struggled a lot last season, but the team looks to improve on two consecutive hundred-loss seasons.
We took a look at the Royals and compared them to the Twins, taking a look at how the teams did in the offseason, what their intangibles (manager, fans, chemistry) look like, and then a breakdown of both team’s rosters (rotation, bullpen, lineup, and bench). Let’s get after it.
Minnesota Twins offseason vs. Kansas City Royals offseason
As we’ve talked about before, the Twins had a fantastic offseason, signing several players that could really improve the back-end of their roster like Alex Avila, Tyler Clippard, and Homer Bailey while adding superstar Josh Donaldson and strong third starter Kenta Maeda.
The team lost a couple of contributors from last season in Kyle Gibson, C.J. Cron, and Jonathan Schoop, but all three were easily replaced. The Twins also resigned three key players who were free agents at the end of the last season: Jake Odorizzi, Sergio Romo, and Michael Pineda.
The Royals were looking to do the opposite of the Twins, saving money, and shaved over $30 million in payroll from last season. ($104 million to $73 million). For a small market team that has no expectations of contending they did well making several good signings.
The team brought in Maikel Franco as the team’s primary third baseman and re-signed franchise icon Alex Gordon to keep him in a Royals uniform for at least one year. The team also brought in former All-Star relievers Greg Holland and Trevor Rosenthal to try to reclaim their former selves.
They made the smart decision to make small signings to improve their roster and acquire tradeable talents, as they don’t plan on competing over these next two seasons. However, the Twins were the clear winners of the offseason between the two teams. Advantage: Twins.
Minnesota Twins Intangibles vs. Kansas City Royals Intangibles
The Twins have one of the freshest faces in the league at manager in Rocco Baldelli, the reigning Manager of the Year who led the team to 101 wins in his first season with the Twins. He has a good roster, but Baldelli’s use of the analytics department gives him a leg up on most managers.
The Royals will be starting the season fresh with their a new manager for the first time since 2010 in Mike Matheny. The former St. Louis Cardinals skipper moved to the other team in the state after six strong seasons and one not as successful year. Matheny helped the Cards win their division three times, one NL Pennant, and they finished no worse than third.
Not one of Matheny’s seasons were as good as Baldelli’s first season, but his tenure of good seasons gives him a slight advantage. However, the Twins as an organization are heading in the right direction while the Royals are still rebuilding a contender.
In addition, Kansas City has finished outside of the top five in the AL in attendance every season since 1989, even when they were fighting for (and won) a World Series from 2013-2015. The struggles to bring fans to the stadium and recent turnover from the top down give the Twins the advantage in this one.