World-Herald baseball preview
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The starting rotation is overhauled, with James Shields and Wade Davis coming from Tampa Bay, Ervin Santana from the Angels and Jeremy Guthrie re-signing after a strong late-season audition. There are question marks, though.
Davis' greatest success has been as a reliever. Santana was more or less given away. Guthrie struggled badly early last season.
Offensively, Alex Gordon and Billy Butler are terrific and are in the prime years of their careers. The Royals need them to stay at their best to contend.
Catcher Salvador Perez has played just 115 games in two seasons in the big leagues, but at age 22, shows exciting offensive potential — and he is a defense-first guy.
Speaking of defense, Alcides Escobar gives that to the Royals at shortstop, and his offense continued developing nicely last season.
Slugging third baseman Mike Moustakas had a solid first full season in the majors. Is there more there? First baseman Eric Hosmer — the can't-miss kid — regressed at the plate and needs to bounce back. The Royals would like to see what a healthy Lorenzo Cain can do over a full season.
The bullpen, headlined by flamethrowers Greg Holland, Kelvin Herrera and Aaron Crow, is solid.
Even if everything goes right, will it be enough to finally make Kansas City relevant again?