In the This Is My Nightmare series, we'll take a look at what the absolute worst case scenario for each team would be in 2013. Think of it as the negative complement to our You May Say I'm A Dreamer series that we'll be running during our preview series.
After the splash Dayton Moore made this winter in trading Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi for James Shields and Wade Davis, a nightmare for the Royals would be yet another 90 loss season in 2013. Just imagine if Kansas City traded their best prospect for a chance to contend in 2013...and fell flat on their faces. With Ervin Santana and Bruce Chen both hitting free agency after the season, and Shields having a club option for 2014, there's a very real possibility that the Royals gamble is going to result in them needing to double down on starting pitching next winter, or go with a younger rotation (because that's worked so well in the past).
Offensively, how about Eric Hosmer? After a solid rookie season in 2011, Hosmer took a huge step back in 2012 with all three slash stats falling along with his ISO. Maybe Hosmer wasn't as good as everyone thought, and he'll just continue to be a mediocre player despite his pedigree as an elite prospect. Sure he's just 23, but we've seen hyped prospects fail before. Remember Justin Smoak? Of course you do.
The rest of the Kansas City offense has a lot of disastrous possibilities in 2013 as well. Despite Mike Moustakas accruing 3.5 fWAR, he still had just a .296 OBP and a 90 wRC+, with his OPS falling to .586 in the second half of the season. Alex Gordon was fantastic again in 2012, but offensive numbers did take a huge hit, mostly in regards to his power. Is that a trend that will continue, turning Gordon into Brett Gardner?
Behind the plate, Sal Perez has been a force in his first 115 games, but he's walked in just 4.1% of his plate appearances, and has a .320 BABIP for his career. That seems like something that's completely unsustainable over the long haul, and after knee surgery last spring, there's also the possibility that Perez sustains another injury to the same knee, especially considering his status as a catcher.
And then....there's Jeff Francoeur. The man was a walking dumpster fire last season. He was one of the worst every day players in baseball last season after putting together a below replacement level season. In his last five seasons, only his 2011 with the Royals was worth more than roughly half a win above replacement. Of course, that earned him a two-year deal with Kansas City, and he reverted to his old form in 2012 and was unplayable. With Francoeur playing for another contract, it's possible he'll bounce back to that 2011 form. But more than likely, he'll be the same disaster that he's been for years.
It's really easy to envision a scenario in which the Royals not only miss the playoffs, but finish under .500. That would be a nightmare for the fanbase and front office of the Royals, which would probably enact a scorched earth policy in regards to the Dayton Moore regime if 2013 is as hapless as 2012.
Royals on TOC
End of Season Postmortem
2013 Season Preview
You May Say I'm a Dreamer
2013 Burning Question
This Is My Nightmare
2013 X-Factor (4:30 PM)