If you told your average Royals fan before nearly any season in recent memory that the team was about to contend, you'd almost certainly encounter more than a few chuckles and rolling eyes. This year, however, they might take you seriously.
As spring training approaches, the Royals appear closer than they have in a long time to contending in the AL Central. That said, close might more accurately translate to a year or two away -- especially after the Tigers made life much more difficult for every team in the division by shelling out huge bucks for superstar first baseman Prince Fielder.
The Royals do have all the ingredients of an improving team, starting with pitching potential. Luke Hochevar looked in the second half last season like a pitcher poised to take the next step.
Journeyman Bruce Chen also returns after a solid 2011, but most intriguing of the Royals' rotation is its newest addition. Kansas City took more than one gamble in dealing Melky Cabrera to San Francisco for s...