With seven games left, the Royals are only 2 losses away from 100. Chances are good that 2004 will end up being the worst year in franchise history. Lots of chances are coming in 2005, as the team tries to learn from this dismal season.
Looking ahead to 2005...
Harvey/Sweeney - 1B (is there no way to keep Pickering on this team?)
??? - 2B
Berroa - SS
Teahan - 3B
??? - LF
DeJesus - CF
Nunez - RF
Buck - C
I'd like to see the Royals move Berroa over to 2B and let Andres Blanco take over at short. Blanco's defense can save more runs than Berroa's offense can create. It looks like Randa's option will not be picked up, so Teahan hopefully Teahan will be ready.
Relaford will likely be gone, so I think Graffanino will return as utility infielder. GM Allard Baird has said that he's going to sign a power hitting corner outfielder to take over LF. Somebody like Juan Gonzalez would be nice - of course, only if he shows up to the ballpark.
The rotation is really up in the air. The Royals are in a strange predicament where they have lots of options, but none really stand out:
Grienke (the ace)
Hernandez (back from Tommy John)
Snyder (back from surgery)
Appier (back from the dead)
Mike Wood (not bad since coming in the Beltran trade)
Denny Bautista (came in the Grimsley trade, looks good but needs seasoning)
Dennys Reyes (probably betting in the pen)
Brian Anderson (can we please lose at least one of these guys????)
Whew! That's a long list. The sad part is, it's hard to pick 5 out that I would want in my rotation.
I'll catch 2 more games this season before they pack it up for the winter. It'll be interesting to see what moves they make this off-season.