Very quietly, the Kansas City Royals (that's right, the Kansas City Royals) have put together a great offseason. Kansas City has been the A.L. Central's doormat ever since the Tigers lost 119 games, but they have improved dramatically thanks to a series of savvy moves. Here is a quick recap of what the Royals have done this offseason as of tonight:
- Signed 2B Mark Grudzielanek to a 1 year, $4 million deal with a 2007 option: Though Grudzielanek is old, he is still very productive and will be a noticeable upgrade at second base over Ruben Gotay. I personally thought Grudzielanek was one of the 10 best free agents available and to get him at such an affordable price was remarkable. Excellent move.
- Signed SP Scott Elarton to a 2 year, $8 million deal: Elarton is not a great pitcher, but he will improve the Royals staff at a very affordable price. Another solid acquisition.
- Signed 1B Doug Mientkiewicz to a 1 year, $1.85 million deal, with incentives: Mike Sweeney is a bad defensive first-baseman, so signing a late-inning defensive replacement was a smart idea. Mientkiewicz is arguably the best defensive first-baseman in the game and could end up being a decent pinch-hitting option as well.
- Signed C Paul Bako to a 1 year deal: A great backup catcher, though he may push John Buck to start or platoon if Buck does not improve. Another guy which will help the team.
- Signed RP Elmer Dessens to a 2-year contract: Once again, not a premiere pitcher but one which will improve the pitching staff.
- Traded Rule 5 Draft Pick Fabio Castro to the Rangers for INF Esteban German: I originally thought German my start at second base, but with the acquisition of Mark Grudzielanek he will now be a reserve. German can play all over the infield and he will be invaluable on the bench, both as a pinch-runner and a pinch-hitter. A fabulous trade for the Royals.
- Traded RP Jonah Bayliss to the Pirates for SP Mark Redman: Though Bayliss is a nice looking relief prospect, the Royals have other good-looking relief prospects. They needed a reliable starter and that is exactly what Mark Redman is. Another very good deal for the Royals.