I think there is a time a team needs to go for it. The Royals perhaps could have contended last season if they had any starting pitching. They added Shields (15-10, 3.52) and Davis (3-0, 2.43 in 54 games in relief after going 11-10, 4.45 in 29 starts the year before). Ervin Santana (9-13, 5.16) comes over from the Angels with better stuff than he showed last season. Jeremy Guthrie (8-12, 4.76) came over from the Rockies in the trade that sent Jonathan Sanchez to Colorado. Guthrie was 5-3, 3.16 with the Royals and earned himself a 3 year deal with the Royals. Bruce Chen (11-14, 5.07) is the only returning start from last season with former number one overall pick Luke Hochevar (8-16, 5.73) headed to the bullpen if he is not traded. Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino are unexpected to pitch this season as they are fighting injuries. Luis Mendoza (8-10, 4.25) is probably the best option to fill in the rotation is there is an injury. Davis is back on the mound after missing some time as he tries to become a MLB starter again. Even with Shields, no starter scares the opposition like the pitchers the Tigers got. But, as a unit, the Royals starting rotation looks better than it has in many years.
The bullpen is very young, with 27 year old Greg Holland (7-4, 2.96, 16 saves, 91 Ks in 67 IP) taking over as the closer. 23 year old LHP Tim Collins (5-4, 3.36 with 93 Ks in 69 2/3 IP) and 23 year old Kelvim Herrera (4-3, 2.35 in 76 games) give the Royals strong arms nobody knows about. Former number one draft pick Aaron Crow (3-1, 3.48 in 73 games) will be joined by a combination of journeymen George Sherrill, Blaine Boyer, Brian Sanches and/ or Dan Wheeler to round out what should be a decent bullpen. Having a group of veterans vying for one or two spots increases the odds something will stick.
Sure, the Royals could use Myers bat in the OF. Especially if he is ready to contribute this season. Catcher Salvador Perez (.301, 11, 39 in 76 games) will make up some of that loss in a full season. 1B Eric Hosmer (.232, 14, 60) had a down second season and should be expected to raise his production. 3B Mike Moustakas (.242, 20, 73) hit his stride during the second half of last season. Alex Gordon (.294, 14, 72 with 51 2Bs) has been the team's best player and teamed with DH Billy Butler (.313, 29, 107), give the team a solid core of offensive players. CF Lorenzo Cain (.266, 7, 31 in 61 games) finally gets a chance to be the team's everyday CF with SS Alcides Escobar (.293, 5, 52, 35 SB) giving the team a respectable two players in the Zack Grienke trade. However, they do have two holes in the lineup: 2B and RF. Chris Getz (.275, 0, 14 in 64 games) won the starting job at 2B with Jeff Francoeur (.235, 16, 49) playing RF. Francoeur fell very short of the .285, 20, 87, 47 2B season of 2011 with little hope of regaining that momentum. Expect the Royals to continue to pursue a left hand hitting OF to platoon with Francoeur as he simply cannot hit right hand pitching on a consistent basis. Cubs OF David Dejesus would be a solid acquisition especially since he previously came through the Royals system. The lineup should look like this: Escobar SS, Cain CF, Butler DH, Hosmer 1B, Gordon LF, Moustakas 3B, Perez C, Francoeur RF, Getz 2B. Veterans Miguel Tejada and Xavier Nady are competing for spots off the bench.
I see the Royals being the surprise team that gets itself into the AL postseason this year. Vegas has their over/ under at 79, up from their 72-90 season of a year ago. I obviously go with the over, at 88-74, second place in the AL Central. If not, expect manager Ned Yost to be without a job relatively soon.