LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Perhaps one of the most anticipated Winter Meetings for the Royals unfolds Monday morning.Will the Royals go for a total rebuild? Will they sign free agents Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas and push to contend again in 2018?Much of the Royals' future could be decided
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Perhaps one of the most anticipated Winter Meetings for the Royals unfolds Monday morning.
Will the Royals go for a total rebuild? Will they sign free agents Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas and push to contend again in 2018?
Much of the Royals' future could be decided in the next four days.
The Royals ended the 2017 season with nine potential free agents, and already one of them, promising closer and potential starter Mike Minor has agreed to a deal elsewhere (Texas).
The Royals still hold out hope they can possibly re-sign one or two from their core group and have been targeting Hosmer. But the truth is they also could be staring at a rebuild, which means they could be using these four days near Orlando to go bargain shopping.
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Royals general manager Dayton Moore is looking forward to the challenge.
"This is where we rely on good scouting," Moore told MLB.com. "We will look for players who are undervalued. Our scouting system has done this in the past with guys like Ryan Madson and Joe Blanton. That's where we are right now."
The Royals already have begun the process, signing free-agent right-hander Wily Peralta, the former Brewer. Peralta possesses a 96-98 mph fastball, and the Royals view him as another power arm to the bullpen and possible swingman.
The Royals also signed former Dodgers farmhand Scott Barlow, a 24-year-old right-hander who had Tommy John surgery earlier in his career but posted a 6-3 record and a 2.10 ERA at Double-A Tulsa last season.
With Minor's departure, Moore will be looking for potential closer types, even though they still have right-hander Kelvin Herrera, who lost the closer's job to Minor in September. Moore also will be on the search for rotational depth.
The Royals have backup plans in the event they lose shortstop Alcides Escobar (Raul Mondesi), center fielder Lorenzo Cain (Paulo Orlando), Moustakas (Cheslor Cuthbert) and even Hosmer (prospect Hunter Dozier).
Moore also said the Royals could be in position to make blockbuster deals to improve the club's farm system, and that could mean dealing anyone from left-hander Danny Duffy to second baseman Whit Merrifield to catcher Salvador Perez.
"Truthfully, we have to look at all possible alternatives in our position," Moore said. "We have to listen to any deal that makes sense."
That could set up a wild ride over the next four days of Meetings, which conclude on Thursday with the Rule 5 Draft.
Don't forget that Moore has used past Winter Meetings to set the table for major deals that unfolded shortly after the Meetings wrapped -- the Zack Greinke deal in 2010 and the James Shields-Wade Davis deal in 2012.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.