Royals stand pat at Winter Meetings. Here's why

December 7th, 2022

SAN DIEGO -- The Royals did not make any major moves at these Winter Meetings, nor were they expected to.

For Kansas City right now, the biggest developments are taking place beneath the surface, as first-year manager Matt Quatraro gets to know his players more deeply and the club assembles a big league coaching staff and player development staff with a special emphasis on improving its pitching in the near and long terms.

At one organizational meeting here at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, Quatraro took the floor to discuss his approach to managing rosters and what he had learned in that regard from working alongside the respected Terry Francona and Kevin Cash. It was a good opportunity for the club’s pro scouts to understand his process more deeply. They also heard extensively from new pitching coach Brian Sweeney about his philosophies on developing pitchers.

That gives the scouts a better idea of types of players to target moving forward.

“It just helps our guys get more familiar with people they haven’t worked with before,” said executive vice president and general manager J.J. Picollo, who ran the Royals’ Winter Meetings for the first time since his elevation to that role.

The end of the Winter Meetings is merely just that. The offseason continues, and the Royals still have plenty of time to shape their 2023 roster.


1. A starter and a swingman

Picollo continued to make it clear this week that bringing back Zack Greinke is a goal for the Royals. If not Greinke, they will need another established starter who can deliver quality innings that take some of the pressure off a young staff that is still finding its footing.

The Royals will also be looking for a swing type who can pitch either out of the rotation or the bullpen.

“You like to go into the year with like eight guys you think can start,” Picollo said.

The expectation is that the Royals will have to wait for the top end of the starting market to settle down before they can find a fit. Among the teams with more limited budgets, there is sticker shock being digested in the industry with the price of free-agent pitching, in particular.

2. A bat

Preferably, it would be a veteran right-handed bat to complement a lineup that leans left. The Royals feel they have enough options for their outfield and would prefer to find a versatile infielder. Bobby Witt Jr. is expected to settle in at shortstop and Michael Massey is the early favorite at second base, leaving Adalberto Mondesi (with whom the Royals avoided arbitration on Tuesday) and Nicky Lopez fighting for at-bats.

“There’s a couple of names we’ve keyed in on -- guys who have been in the big leagues, experienced guys who know where they are in their careers,” Picollo said. “I think when you look at the left-handedness, someone who can play third and play second would fit us well, because Mondy, Bobby and Nicky can all play short.”


The Royals did not select or lose any players in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft.


While the Royals are engaged in both the free-agent and trade markets in their pursuits of their specific needs, the overarching goal of 2023 will be to make strides with the talent the club has already assembled.

“We might be in a position where this year is going to be fairly quiet overall because of where our guys that we’re committed to are,” Picollo said. “And then next year may just be more active for us. That can change at a moment’s notice, but just getting a feel for what’s happening and where the industry is, as far as working with us, I think it’s going to be a little slower.

"If we can just get incrementally better ... and buy time for the younger guys to keep playing and get at-bats, we’ll know better a year from now where we’re headed.”