|12-05-2002, 02:35 AM||Topic Starter|
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Dutton: 12/4 Royals Q&A
Q&A on the Royals
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Posted on Wed, Dec. 04, 2002
Q: Why are the Royals trying to trade Joe Randa?
A: It's probably more accurate to say the Royals are willing to trade Joe Randa. It's not like they're just looking to dump his $4.5 million salary (which increases to $5.5 million if he gets traded).
Right now, club officials privately estimate it's 50-50 that Randa is still around when next season opens. But this much is clear: The Royals don't see him as part of their long-term future. It will be a surprise if they try to keep him when his contract expires after next season.
Randa is a fan favorite, in part because he has chosen to make Kansas City his home. But he turns 33 later this month, and his persistent hamstring problems are a concern. It is painful at times to watch him run the bases.
The problem for the Royals is they have no replacement in the pipeline. That's why they recently signed Jarrod Patterson, a 29-year-old minor-league journeyman who couldn't make Detroit's roster in either of the last two years.
Q: Are any of these recent free-agent signings going to make the ballclub?
A: Well, Patterson is the leading candidate to play third if Randa gets traded -- unless the Royals acquire someone else. Patterson is a left-handed hitter who has doubles power.
Julius Matos has a suspect bat, but the Royals like his defensive abilities at second and third. They would prefer him as a backup, but he could be the starting second baseman if Carlos Febles doesn't return.
Jason Turman, a 6-foot-10 right-hander, should battle Kris Wilson for long-relief duties. Lefty Jimmy Osting will get a chance to crack the rotation, but he's a long shot.
Infielder Mendy Lopez is the same guy who departed after the 1999 season, just older. He's an insurance policy who likely will spend the season in Omaha.
First baseman/DH Morgan Burkhart's accomplishments are legendary in the Frontier League, whose MVP trophy is named in his honor. But to get a roster spot, he'll probably have to beat out Arizona Fall League MVP Ken Harvey.
Q: What are the chances of the Royals getting Carlos Beltran to sign a long-term contract before next season?
A: Slim at best, but it's still worth the effort. Beltran is likely to make about $6 million next season on a one-year deal, and it makes little sense for him to make a long-term commitment at this point.
He won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2004 season. That gives him two years to gauge whether the Royals are making progress in rebuilding themselves into a winner.
If they are, and the Royals make a competitive offer, there's a good chance that he'll stick around. If the Royals continue to flounder or low-ball him on a contract, he'll probably look elsewhere.