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Inbox: Royals' approach to free agency for 2020

Beat reporter Jeffrey Flanagan answers questions from fans
@FlannyMLB
October 31, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- The World Series is drawing to a close, and with that the offseason officially kicks in with decisions on contract options, free agency, etc., looming. With that, let’s get to this week’s Royals Inbox.

KANSAS CITY -- The World Series is drawing to a close, and with that the offseason officially kicks in with decisions on contract options, free agency, etc., looming. With that, let’s get to this week’s Royals Inbox.

I do think that is the one area the Royals will be as aggressive as payroll will allow. But I think you’ll see them seek out cost-efficient relievers and reclamation projects for the most part. They scored with the Jake Diekman signing last offseason and were able to flip him at the Trade Deadline. I’ve speculated they might even have interest in him again -- Diekman loved playing here, Kansas City is close to his home in Nebraska and he was popular in the clubhouse, especially with the young pitchers.

Looking ahead to free-agent class of 2019-20

Club officials are pretty comfortable with their position players, though again, they may shoot for a bargain free-agent outfielder, especially if Alex Gordon retires. And, of course, they will scour the market for cost-efficient starting pitching, which all small-market teams do.

Most immediately, Dayton Moore and Mike Matheny will have to assemble a coaching staff. That will be priority No. 1. As I’ve reported, bench coach Dale Sveum has expressed a desire to fill another role in the organization, and that is being worked out.

Like most general managers, Moore likely will let Matheny pick his bench coach. That is just common practice. It seems likely that pitching coach Cal Eldred will be back -- Matheny and Eldred became friends when they were in St. Louis together. I would think for continuity reasons, they would want to keep the rest of the staff intact for at least the first year. But it’s possible that coaches such as Vance Wilson or Pedro Grifol find opportunities elsewhere if they are not chosen as manager.

The Royals medical staff say Salvador Perez is right on schedule and should be ready by Opening Day. He is working out in Miami.

Not sure where you’ve seen that, but it has never been reported here that Brett Phillips isn’t in their plans. In fact, club officials have talked internally about the possibility of a platoon system with Phillips and Bubba Starling in center field, and Ryan McBroom and Ryan O’Hearn at first base. Not saying that’s the direction they’ll wind up going, but a platoon at those spots sets up nicely if needed.

I would say Gordon is the next Royals Hall of Fame inductee, whenever he decides to retire. I know he has my vote. I’m on record as saying I’m not a big “number retired” guy, but sure, why not retire No. 4. The waiting period is three years after a player or manager retires -- a separate Veterans Committee votes on non-player personnel every other year. And there seems no doubt that Ned Yost will be voted in.

A new TV deal is still on hold as the Royals are waiting for FOX Sports Kansas City to respond to their latest offer. The Royals still are hoping for a deal that would bring in something in the low 50s in terms of millions per year.

Thank to our friends with the Storm Chasers, here’s the answer:

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.