How to fix the Kansas City Royals

Kansas City Royals mascot Sluggerrr signs autographs for fans prior to an exhibition game against the Omaha Storm Chasers at Werner Park.

It’s been a rapid decline.

Four seasons ago, the Kansas City Royals were on top of baseball, winning their first World Series in 30 years. But what followed were two .500 seasons before K.C. bottomed out last season at 58-104.

The Royals now are going through another rebuild and fixing what’s wrong won’t happen overnight. There are, however, a few areas the Royals can concentrate on.

Find an identity

When the Royals reached back-to-back World Series in the middle of this decade, the team was built around a core of players who came through their farm system — Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez. Those teams were built around defense and pitching. While the Royals wait until the next wave of prospects is ready, this year’s team can rely on its speed and defense. Only eight players in the majors stole more than 30 bases last season and three of them are in Kansas City this season — Whit Merrifield (pictured), Billy Hamilton and Adalberto Mondesi. Add in Gold Glover Alex Gordon in left field and the Royals should be defensively solid.

A better bullpen

The bullpen was one of Kansas City’s strengths in its World Series years. But last year, the bullpen blew 23 saves, had the second-highest ERA in the majors and worst WHIP. This year’s bullpen is revamped and will have more options. Wily Peralta stepped in as closer at the end of the last year, and in the offseason Kansas City added Brad Boxberger, who had 32 saves for Arizona last year, and hard-throwing lefty Jake Diekman. Ian Kennedy will have a chance to revive his career out of the bullpen, too.

A little patience

Royals fans know patience is a virtue. Before 2013, they had one winning season in the previous 18 years and went nearly 30 years between playoff appearances. You just hope it isn’t another 30 years before they’re in the postseason.

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Gene covers a variety of sports beats for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @geneOWH. Phone: 402-444-1038.

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