Kansas City Royals: A veteran presence

Kansas City Royals

Veteran Raul Ibanez congratulates Alex Gordon as he enters the dugout (zimbio.com).

The Kansas City Royals improved to a record of 68-55 after Sunday’s 12-6 win over the Minnesota Twins. They now stand a game and a half above the Detroit Tigers to lead the American League Central. Currently winning 20 of their last 25 games, the Royals have found success lately with a strong veteran presence in the clubhouse.

A new look

With in season acquisitions such as Raul Ibanez and most recently Josh Willingham, the Kansas City Royals currently have the third oldest roster in the major leagues. It comes as no surprise that once General Manager Dayton Moore decided to claim Raul Ibanez off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels, that the Royals season begin to turn around from a mediocre season, to a season that could be very special.

Moore was not done there, however, as he also acquired Scott Downs and Jason Frasor to add depth and experience to the bullpen, Eric Kratz to help relieve Salvador Perez, and then recently, as mentioned above, brought in Josh Willingham to provide veteran leadership as well as provide much needed power and switch off at DH as Billy Butler continues to play first base in the absence of Eric Hosmer.

What this all means

It is no surprise the Kansas City Royals seem to be all in on the 2014 season. The club could have traded James Shields at the trade deadline to once again stock up on prospects, but decided to play it out in hopes he could help the team reach the playoffs for the first time since their title season in 1985. Success has been something that has not been around the ball club much in the last 30 years. Dayton Moore and Ned Yost realize that, and seem to want to be doing everything possible to turn that around this year.

By adding veteran leaders with experience and subsequently age to the roster, GM Dayton Moore hopes that the newly named Royals can help mentor the young players on their way to being in the playoffs for the first time in their careers. A couple of months ago, the Royals were fighting to stay in contention for the second wild card spot as the Angels looked to have the first spot securely locked up and the Tigers in line to win the AL Central once again. Now with just a month and a half left to go in the season, Dayton Moore’s plan to add veteran players doesn’t seem so farfetched after all as the Royals have a legitimate shot at winning the division.

With 23 of the Royals 39 remaining games coming against AL Central opponents and 6 of those coming against the Tigers, the Royals seem to be in a good place and control their own destiny at their shot of playing baseball in October.

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