DETROIT — David Glass sounds like an owner ready to make the necessary financial push in the coming offseason to bolster a suspect starting pitching rotation in order to position the Royals for a postseason run in 2013.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
“What I’ve always said is when we get to the point where we’re competitive,” Glass said, “we’ll do what we have to do to improve our position. Yes, we’ll do what we need to do. We are committed to improving our starting pitching.
“Exactly how we’re going to do it, or what is going to be available, I don’t have any idea right now. But we’ll have a plan in place (going into the offseason). We know we need to improve this team for next year. This starting pitching is going to get better.”
Glass’ commitment comes after years of increased financial commitment to scouting and player development, which is finally showing dividends. Like many others, he believes the Royals are just a couple of starting pitchers away from a postseason payoff. The Royals were 70-82 entering Monday night’s game in Detroit, 11 games out of first place in the American League Central Division.
“Our bullpen,” he said, “I’ll stack it up against anybody in our division. Our position players, too. We just need some additional help in starting pitching. We get that, and were competitive.”
Achieving the goal of adding two proven pitchers — either through free-agent signings or by taking on existing contracts through trades — is likely to get expensive. And baseball’s rich new national TV contracts don’t kick in until 2014.
Even so, Glass indicated a willingness to operate the club at a financial loss in order to improve the rotation. He offered few specifics, saying he has yet to meet with general manager Dayton Moore and other top club officials to prioritize a list of targeted players.
“We’ll do what we need to do,” Glass said. “I’m going to sit down with Dayton and get his views on exactly what he thinks we need to do. I’m really dependent on his judgment. He knows our needs.
“I have no idea yet of who will be on the market or what it will cost at this point in time. We’re going to have to figure all of that out, but we’re going to do what we need to do to be competitive.”
Moore previously confirmed interest in retaining veteran right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, a pending free agent who is 4-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 12 starts since arriving in a July 20 trade from Colorado.
Guthrie is making $8.2 million, but his age (he’ll be 34 in April) and poor start in Colorado make it difficult to gauge his market value. He was 3-9 with a 6.35 ERA for the Rockies in 19 games prior to the trade.
While the Royals might be willing to match, or even exceed, any one- or two-year offer for Guthrie, they are likely to be wary of any commitment beyond two years.
The Royals, even with an increased financial commitment, are unlikely to get into the bidding war necessary to sign top free-agent starters, such as Zack Greinke, their former ace who now appears likely to command $120 million or more for six years.
But if the Royals retain Guthrie, they should have sufficient resources to pursue another middle-of-the-rotation starter. The general feeling among club officials is adding two legitimate No. 3 starters would be sufficient.
Doing so would still require a significant financial investment.
If Guthrie signs elsewhere, the Royals’ best bet to add two starters would be signing one and acquiring one in a trade — but any impact trade is likely to mean surrendering one or more young cornerstone players or prospects, which the Royals are reluctant to do.
To reach Bob Dutton, call 816-234-4352 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/Royals_Report.