By: Ryan Knoblauch
EDITORS NOTE: due to combined laziness of the writer and editor, this story got scooped by multiple places, including Sam Mellinger of the KC Star. The Dive staff gets things done at our own pace, don’t question the magic, just believe in it
While the Royals have not officially been eliminated from the playoffs, the certainty is almost 100%. Because of that, we have just a few precious games left to watch the uber talented core that helped the franchise reach heights it hasn’t been to in 30 years. It is still possible that one or two of these players get resigned and we will get to continue to watch them for years to come, but watching them all play together will not happen in again in a Royals uniform.
It is fitting that he gets brought up first as he was one of the first of the prospects (outside of Gordon) who was making an impact for the organization. Acquired via the trade of Zack Grienke, this defensive wizard makes at least one play a game that has you saying “wow.” People criticize him for his offense, but his numbers with RISP were terrific and there are not many on the roster I would trust more in clutch hitting situation. His defense also makes up for just as many runs as his bat cannot produce. He rarely misses games and has been a mainstay in the lineup for most of this decade. Here’s to you Alcides.
The biggest Royals prospect that “never turned in to what he should be.” Whatever the hell that means. Hosmer is a catalyst to the offense. Usually hitting in the top of middle of the lineup. He has great speed and range for a first baseman and catches nearly every ball thrown his way. He has made some spectacular digs at first base in his Royals career, and his “steal” of home base in the 2015 World Series is one for the biggest memories of this groups legacy, as well as one for the biggest moments in Royals history. Fair-thee-well master of dirt.
The Ace to Hosmer’s Gary (see photo), these two were usually seen as inseparable. They came up together in the farm system, had chemistry together with their throws from 3rd to 1st, and even had a special handshake after games. He was a very solid defensive 3rd baseman, but never broke out the way everyone thought he could with his bat…until the Royals needed him most, in their 2014 & 2015 World series runs. He also broke out in a major way this year, likely earning himself a nice contract. He broke the Royals records for HRs in a single season this year, and will go down as the 2nd greatest third baseman in Royals history (behind pants pooper George.)
Another major piece to the Zack Grienke trade. He developed later in his career than most major leaguers do, but he also got into baseball much later than others as well. His defense helped the Royals so many times in their two runs to the World Series. He might be the most likely to re-sign as he is 32 and has had injury problems. However, if he has an opportunity to sign for more money somewhere else, he should absolutely take it. It would be his only shot at a major contract. If he is gone, I’ll miss his gold glove diving catches, his offensive punch to the top of the lineup, and his loveable personality he brings to the clubhouse. No one would miss him more than Salvy though.
In a city where baseball season was an afterthought, this group of guys captured the hearts of many, changed the way other teams construct their rosters, and gave small markets organizations a vision to strive for. I am going to watch every game I can over this next week and a half witness all the Cain diving-catches, Alcides spin-throws, Hosmer digs, and Moose bombs that I can to try to relive the good times one last time. These players and team will hold a special place in my heart for a long time (although hopefully not 30 years until the next team.) I wish them all the best in wherever the rest of their careers take them. Although I will be happy if $7 tickets return