SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If there's one thing Royals general manager Dayton Moore is fairly certain of, it's that his players will be smack in the middle of numerous trade rumors this offseason.
That's because the Royals have players including Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Wade Davis, Danny Duffy and Alcides Escobar who potentially could be free agents after 2017.
Plenty of teams will be anxious to find out if Moore will want to deal.
Already, Davis' name has popped up in rumors as potential trade bait. What is curious about that is Moore has said repeatedly that his top priority this offseason is restoring his bullpen to shutdown status.
How could Moore achieve that by trading Davis, his bullpen ace?
"It's a good question. A very good question," Moore said from the General Managers Meetings. "You're going to hear a lot [of rumors] this offseason. It's natural for interested clubs or contending clubs to naturally look at our team and say 'Hey, certain players are going to be free agents in a year. I wonder if the Royals would be interested in making a deal?'
"That's going to be commonplace. We'll continue to listen. That's what we'll do. We're not in a hurry to break this team up. But every day there is a strong urgency to get better."
Moore may have inadvertently fueled the early rumor mill by suggesting at season's end that he might "shake things up" with the roster.
"It's very incumbent on us to make sure we listen to opportunities presented to us for the future of our organization, immediate and long term," Moore said. "When you have the highest payroll in the history of the Royals [in 2016] and you win 81 games. … You can look at that and say certain players had down years, and we weren't healthy, and yes, that's all true. But when you don't reach your level of expectation, you have to re-evaluate."
Moore also has hinted that the Royals, whose 2016 payroll exceeded $140 million, would need to contain costs in '17, suggesting they won't be active players in the free-agent market.
"Mr. [David] Glass has always been willing to subsidize the team as we put together the best team we possibly can," Moore said. "At the same time, our market will present some limitations at times. You want to make astute baseball decisions based on the future performance of the player and where the economics fit.
"We're not going to be in position to significantly add payroll. I can say that with all certainty at this point in time."