Editor's note: Yahoo! Sports will examine the offseason of every MLB team before spring training begins in mid-February. Our series is in reverse order of team quality, and begins with the Kansas City Royals.
2009 record: 65-97
Finish: T-4th place, American League Central
2009 final payroll: $81.7 million
Estimated 2010 opening day payroll: $67 million
Because the 1962 New York Mets were perhaps the worst team of all time, history doesn't give nearly the credit to the '63 Mets' futility. Those Mets set a remarkable record that no team has come close to breaking: They were shut out 30 times.
All of this isn't to say that nearly 50 years later that mark is in danger. It's just that with their collective moves this offseason, the Kansas City Royals seem more inclined to break that record than they do to win their division.
The Royals, coming off a year in which they scored 686 runs – second worst in the AL – have gotten demonstrably worse by spending money, which is indeed impressive. They acquired five position players this offseason. Read the following chart, which shows their adjusted OPS (100 is average), and weep.
|Name||2009 OPS+||Career OPS+|
* in 21 at-bats
With a new general manager came a new euphemism. It used to be, when Allard Baird was running the Royals, that the team had "the plan." It needed to be followed, respected, worshipped, because it was going to lead the Royals back to glory.
Now, with Dayton Moore at the helm, it's "the process." He has, rather infamously, asked fans to "trust the process," no matter how difficult it is to trust something with no tangible results.
The Royals do have Zack Greinke(notes). That is good. And they do have a nice cache of pitching prospects set to arrive in 2011 and 2012, including Cuban defector Noel Arguelles(notes), signed to a $7 million deal. That, too, is good. And still, the feeling of dread that permeates this team is palpable. To import five hitters who can't even hit to league average and do it in the name of improvement is intellectually dishonest, not to mention foolhardy.
Moore received a contract extension through 2014 last season. It showed that Royals ownership believes in the process. Such loyalty is commendable. It also sends the wrong message: That such frequent, systemic losing in a city far too familiar with it deserves reward of any kind.
Royals in Haiku
One hundred losses
A Kansas City birthright
NEXT: Pittsburgh Pirates