2023 Preview: Kansas City Royals

Thu Mar 23 3:12pm ET
Field Level Media

2022 record: 65-97, fifth in American League Central

Offseason headlines: Mike Matheny is out and Matt Quatraro is in as Kansas City's manager. The former Tampa Bay Rays bench coach is being heralded as someone who listens to his players and is in tune with the analytics world. "There's a ton of information to start, and it works its way to the field," Quatraro said. He isn't working with a completely empty cupboard, but the Royals did sell off some roster pieces -- Ryan O'Hearn, Michael A. Taylor, reliever Wyatt Mills -- for prospects and cash over the winter. The Royals snapped up some interesting veterans such as Aroldis Chapman, Franmil Reyes and Jackie Bradley Jr., the latter two on minor league deals.

Spring storylines: How will the rotation take shape after the Royals posted the worst team ERA in the American League in 2022? While Brady Singer (10-5, 3.23 ERA) had a breakout campaign and Zack Greinke was brought back for another run, Kansas City's four other regular starters had ERAs higher than 5.00. The club hopes it's addressed the position by signing Ryan Yarbrough from the Rays and Jordan Lyles from the Baltimore Orioles. Bobby Witt Jr. is coming off a 20-homer, 30-steal campaign, yet Royals fans are hoping to see more as Witt figures to be the everyday shortstop in 2023. Who's going to help Witt and Salvador Perez drive in runs? Perhaps Vinnie Pasquantino continues on an upward trajectory after impressing as a rookie.

Young guns: Shortstop Maikel Garcia, the Royals' No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, saw some limited major league action in 2022. But with Witt occupying that position, Quatraro hinted early in spring training that the hot-hitting Garcia could be an option at third base. Whether he gets that chance in the regular season remains to be seen; Hunter Dozier is the projected starter.

Fall feeling: The Royals haven't broken .500 or returned to the playoffs since winning the 2015 World Series. Between hiring Quatraro and tinkering with the roster the way they did, it's the dawn of a new era, but a rebuild will take time.

Odds: Only a few teams have longer odds to win the World Series than Kansas City, which is +20000 at major books DraftKings, Fanduel and Caesars. The Royals are a longer shot to win the AL Central than Detroit at Caesars (+4000 to +2500), while the teams are tied at +3000 at DraftKings.

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