Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 3/20/12
They've lost catcher Salvador Perez for three months. And they've lost closer Joakim Soria likely for the season. No matter. The Royals could still be good enough to contend for the postseason, at least according to Hall of Famer George Brett. "Why not? You don't rule anything out," Brett told me by phone. "I see this team coming together and getting closer every day. That gives you the ability to overcome some things, to get through some adversity. "This team reminds me of the 1985 Royals team in terms of camaraderie. The makeup is different because the '85 team had a lot of veterans and this team doesn't. The oldest position player on this team is Mitch Maier, I think, and he doesn't even start. "But there was a closeness to that '85 team that I see here as well." Brett, a Royals vice president, traditionally spends every day of spring training working on the field with the players. "I can honestly say this is the most fun I've had in spring training since I retired," he said. "This is just a great group of guys. They're fun to be around. "They work hard and they care about each other. You come into the clubhouse in the morning and you ask Alex (Gordon) what he did last night and he tells you that he hung out with Frenchy (Jeff Francoeur). You ask Moose (Mike Moustakas) and he hung out with Hoz (Eric Hosmer) or someone else. You just go down the list and they all get along. "We haven't had that in years past. We had that with the 1985 team. I remember one time late in the year in '85 when we played a day game and we all hung out in the clubhouse afterward playing cards until midnight. That was typical of that '85 team. That was a close group and I see that closeness here." But it's not just friendships that Brett sees on this 2012 team. He sees plenty of talent, too. "Definitely the most talented group of young guys I've seen since I retired," he said. "You look all around the infield and all around the outfield and you see a lot of ability. And one thing that's different now is that the guys behind the front-line guys are pretty damn good, too. "You stick around and watch a game and Lorenzo Cain comes out in the seventh inning. Then you get to see Jarrod Dyson. How cool is that? Or maybe Hoz comes out, and then you have a hitter like Clint Robinson behind him. It's really enjoyable to see all of that come together. "And what I've noticed is that these guys really want to win. Most of them came up through the minors together and won at each level. They know what it takes." Naturally, though, the Royals' chances hinge on their starting pitching. "I think you can say that for most every team," Brett said. "The edge this team has on other teams is it can play great defense, which always keeps you in a game, and it has a great bullpen. I mean, look at the fight that's going on for the jobs in the bullpen. "There are so many good young arms out there, but not enough spots. That's a great position to be in." The loss of Soria, who has damage to the ulnar ligament in his throwing elbow, will have an impact, no doubt. But Brett believes the Royals will adopt a "next man up" philosophy. "The competition is pretty intense, I know that," he said. "Someone will rise up. Good teams know how to get through (injuries)." Someone will have to rise up if the Royals are to make a run at the postseason. "I think it will be very, very important for this team to get off to a good start," Brett said. "Older, veteran teams can sometimes get past a bad start because they're confident. This Royals' team needs to get out of the gates well. That will give them the confidence they need. "If the starting pitching can hold its own, and then you can get Salvy (Perez) back, this group is ready to break out. These guys are hungry."
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