Friday, December 08, 2006

Free Agent Signings

The Royals have been making a splash over the last two days. They signed pitcher Gil Meche to a 5 year, $55 Million contract, and reportedly have also signed close Octavio Dotel. The Royals are still pursuing Miguel Bautista as well.

A lot of folks are a bit up in arms over the amount of money the Royals are giving to Meche. Meche has been an average pitcher of the last few years, but is only 28 years old and still shows promise. But is he worth $55 million? Probably not.

But Royals GM Dayton Moore not only needs to rebuild the team’s on the field success, but also the perception of the organization. Signing Meche will not put the Royals in the World Series this season. But what it does is it tells the rest of baseball that the Royals are not the same anymore.

The Royals are telling the rest of baseball that they no longer will accept being the door mat. They are aggressively spending money to improve themselves. By signing players like Meche and Dotel, it improves the impression to the rest of the players, and next year or the year after it suddenly becomes much easier to attract players.

It’s the same tact the Tigers used after losing 119 games in 2003. They spent way too much money on players, but they were able to attract players and three years later it paid off with a World Series.

If Moore can stabilize the pitching, and the young players all come along over the next two years, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the Royals will be contending in a year or two.

That’s the hope, anyway.

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