KANSAS CITY -- Royals general manager Dayton Moore said he and his staff are energized by the prospect of rebuilding heading into 2018.
"I think it's going to be an exciting time," Moore said.
The Royals' last rebuild netted back-to-back World Series appearances in 2014-15, and the Royals won it all in '15. Moore now wants a rebuild that he says will make his team competitive for a much longer stretch.
With that in mind, here's a look at the top 5 questions heading into 2018.
How many desirable assets will Moore trade?
Moore knows the immediate road ahead will be painful. He needs to restock his farm system with talent that can mesh well with his next wave of potential young stars -- first baseman Nick Pratto, outfielder Khalil Lee, catcher MJ Melendez and outfielder Michael Gigliotti. But to add to that next wave, Moore knows almost everyone on his 25-man roster must be made available in a trade to guarantee maximum return. And that includes left-handers Danny Duffy and Scott Alexander, right-hander Kelvin Herrera and second baseman Whit Merrifield. Those are the players that have maximum value and will get multiple prospects in return. Moore also will focus on payroll shaving, which means he needs to find takers for right-handers Joakim Soria and Jason Hammel.
Do the Royals still have a chance at Eric Hosmer?
It might not seem logical for the Royals to even ponder re-signing Hosmer as they consider a major rebuild. And it also might not seem logical to re-sign Hosmer as they also talk about shaving payroll. But the Royals still believe Hosmer would be an excellent veteran to shepherd in the next young group. Agent Scott Boras overhypes the intangibles, but Hosmer truly is a tremendous clubhouse presence, and the Royals know that. The obvious question is how they would manage a Hosmer signing, financially, as they also try to cut payroll. They'd have to backload his deal and find takers for Hammel and Soria, among others.
With the rebuild, is catcher Salvador Perez untouchable?
In talking with Moore at the Winter Meetings, it sure seemed he was leaning that way. It almost surely would take a ridiculous haul in return for the Royals to think about moving Perez, and other teams know that. Could that still happen? Sure. Perez is an elite catcher. But the guess is probably not.
How long will the rebuild take?
Moore came to Kansas City in 2006, and he produced his first winning season in '13. But to be fair, he inherited a struggling franchise. The scouting department was in shambles and the Royals had zero international presence. It took time, but Moore changed the culture and built a championship team. This time around, Moore believes the process will go much more quickly, because the infrastructure is in place and as he put it, "We're smarter this time around." Moore believes this rebuild could take only three years.
Will Ned Yost manage in 2018?
Yost is determined to lead, even after suffering a horrific injury when he fell out of a deer stand on his property in Georgia in November. Yost shattered his pelvis from the 20-foot fall, and he nearly died on the operating table. He has been immobilized since, but he said he is determined to be ready for Spring Training. It is the final year of his deal.