KANSAS CITY — Faced with the mandate of trimming payroll yet remaining competitive for 2017, Royals general manager Dayton Moore made the difficult move of trading All-Star closer Wade Davis to the Cubs for promising outfielder Jorge Soler at the Winter Meetings.
The move trimmed about $7 million off the payroll, which now projects to be just under $140 million and perhaps in the comfort zone of ownership.
Now, even without Davis, the Royals still boast a roster that should compete again for a postseason run, if healthy. But there remain many questions heading into 2017. Here five of the most pressing, in no particular order:
1. What moves are left? Moore and his staff still are faced with the reality that six players — Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jarrod Dyson and Danny Duffy — could become free agents after 2017. It seems likely that Moore isn’t done dealing at least one of them. And he has indicated he isn’t about to let the others walk, meaning he will try to secure some to long-term deals. There already have been initial talks with Duffy in that regard.
The Royals have five outfielders who consider themselves starters, so they are listening to offers, and there has been reported interest from other clubs in Dyson and Cain.
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2. How will bullpen be better? Moore said last September that his goal this offseason will be to return the bullpen to its shutdown status of 2013-15. That will be even more challenging with the loss of its best piece, Davis.
But Moore is banking on Kelvin Herrera to step in as closer and …