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Inbox: Are Royals feeling Merri for 2017?

Beat reporter Jeffrey Flanagan answers Kansas City fans' questions @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- The end of 2016 is approaching, and Spring Training is less than two months away. So let's do one final Royals Inbox for the year.

Happy holidays everyone and here goes:

KANSAS CITY -- The end of 2016 is approaching, and Spring Training is less than two months away. So let's do one final Royals Inbox for the year.

Happy holidays everyone and here goes:

Tweet from @AndrewMLogue: @FlannyMLB Why is there so little respect for Whit at second base? I thought he played well, showed promise.

Who is not respecting Whit Merrifield? General manager Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost are very high on Merrifield and repeatedly have made it clear that he will compete for the everyday job at second base, along with Christian Colon and Raul Mondesi. I would be stunned if Merrifield isn't on the 25-man roster when the Royals break camp, and at least a little surprised if he doesn't win the job.

Tweet from @royalsfan25: @FlannyMLB even after the soler trade do you think Royals will add one of the power hitters left on the market?

The purpose of trading Wade Davis for Jorge Soler was to trim payroll, so it wouldn't make much sense to turn around and suddenly add to payroll. That would put the Royals right back where they started. If they can find a bargain-basement free agent who is a candidate for a big comeback, they could go that route.

Video: Moore glad to have Soler join the Royals in 2017

Tweet from @RyanVarner89: @FlannyMLB Is the 5th starter already on the team? What's the status on Holland and Hoch?

Right now, Chris Young, Mike Minor and possibly Matt Strahm would compete for the fifth-starter role. Strahm, though, likely will be needed in the bullpen. It's also likely that Moore's scouting department unearths some free-agent finds who also will compete. Greg Holland and Luke Hochevar remain free agents. The Royals haven't closed the door on either.

Tweet from @Spence1529: @FlannyMLB what minor league player that we haven't seen much of could have an impact in 2017?

You most likely are going to see right-hander Josh Staumont, who isn't even on the 40-man roster yet. But the Royals officials I have talked to firmly believe he will be a factor in the bullpen in 2017. His fastball can reach 100 mph, and he had a phenomenal second half last season at Double-A. The Royals are not bashful about putting young guys in the bullpen (see Strahm).

Video: Royals' prospect Josh Staumont on learning curve

Tweet from @bobhiler: @FlannyMLB what do you think Paolo Orlando's role will be in 2017 after the Soler acquisition?

That's a great question. With the trade for Soler, the Royals have five outfielders who all can start, including Paulo Orlando. There's still a chance someone gets traded. If the season started today, Lorenzo Cain would be in center, Alex Gordon in left and Soler in right. Orlando and Jarrod Dyson would be backups, though the Royals will have a floating DH -- so when Cain or Soler needed a half-day off, Orlando and Dyson would get playing time.

Tweet from @KCFAN96: @FlannyMLB are they going to trade an Outfielder before the start of spring training. If so who??

There has been interest from other clubs in Dyson and Cain. Dyson is cost efficient -- he is projected to make around $2.5 million through arbitration -- and has drawn the most interest. But because Dyson is cost efficient, that is why he appeals to the small-market Royals, too. Cain will make $11 million. But other teams know both are one-year guys (both are free agents after 2017), which makes it harder to deal them.

Video: CLE@KC: Dyson runs down a fly ball in center

Tweet from @jhawk4life: @FlannyMLB will the cargo shorts return in 2017? #Royals

Yes, the cargos will be back in 2017. My rule is I wear them until the first snow fall, which we had last week, so they are hung up until I get to Surprise, Ariz.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for since 2015.

Kansas City Royals