After a disappointing 2016 campaign that saw the Royals finish a mediocre 81-81, fans in Kansas City have tempered hopes that 2017 might be the season that gets this team back on track. Much of the thinking is the Royals were simply out of gas after two straight seasons of reaching and eventually winning the World Series. With the goal having been achieved, it would be natural to find it hard to carry on the same motivation the following year, thus the simple explanation for the Royals decline.
There were, of course, many more reasons than just that. Disappointing performances from many offensive players. A decline in the Royals other worldly bullpen and of course the inability to find a capable fifth starter.
The question now of course is can the Royals over come these deficiencies in the upcoming year after losing even more pieces this offseason after the departures of Edinson Volquez, Wade Davis and Kendrys Morales? Can this core of players once again play at a level more on par with the performances of 2015? We debated whether the Royals window to win was still open last week.
Our hearts may say yes, but the money is saying no. Early projections at this point in the offseason seem to bet against the Royals being legitimate contenders for another Championship. Mytopsportsbooks opens the betting with the Royals a middle of the pack 35/1 sandwiched between Baltimore and Toronto. CBS paints an equally depressing picture placing Kansas City at 33/1 to win it all. They dont really get better anywhere else.
While fans have taken exception with many of the computer based projections the last few years, the Vegas odds have always been a much more honest interpretation of true ability as anytime someone puts money on it, it carries real consequence.
Maybe Vegas sees the Royals aging core. Weakened bullpen. The loss of the most dominant closer in all of MLB. The disappointing years had by Cain, Hosmer and Gordon. The fact that the Royals are entering the 2017 season short multiple pitchers to have at LEAST 5 capable starters in a shaky rotation.
Maybe Vegas sees the reports that ownership has given mandate to shed payroll after a reported loss following the club record payroll in 2016 netted them a .500 record and on the outside looking in in the playoff picture.
There are many factors that could make it easy to have a bleak outlook on the upcoming year. And they are all valid.
But maybe…just maybe….the team that was an equally depressing 30-1 dogs to win the crown in 2015 can defy the odds just one more time. After all, if this Royals team has taught its fans anything its that odds are for other teams. Not applicable here.
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