The Royals enter 2016 with pretty much the same roster they won the World Series with, minus Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto, who have moved on to the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants. They signed Ian Kennedy to replace Johnny Cueto in the rotation. Kennedy provides them with something they so desperately need in the rotation, an “innings eater” who can take some stress off of their overused bullpen. Yes, their bullpen the best in the game, but they have relied upon it almost too much in the last two seasons. That does need to change this season. They need more out of Edison Volquez and Chris Young. They also need Yordano Ventura to finally step up and become the ace Royals fans know he can be.
There are a few questions to answer during Spring Training. First, can Tim Holland win his job back? Holland was one of the best in the game for a while there, but a poor stretch of play cost him his closer job to Wade Davis late last season. Davis enters as the default closer, but if Holland spends his time wisely in the coming months, he can find a way to get his job back. The next question is who will win the backup catching job? That is a two horse race between former St. Louis Cardinal Tony Cruz and Drew Butera from the Twins. I say Butera keeps his job. They Royals also have a lot of outfield decisions to make. They already have Alex Gordon, Jarrod Dyson, and Lorenzo Cain in their outfield as establish players. But they also have young talent in Terrance Gore, and he’s itching for playing time. The Royals “mega-prospect” Bubba Starling is also coming along.