Thursday, November 13, 2008

What the Royals Should Learn from the Phillies

It is now the hot-stove season for Major League Baseball clubs. During the next several weeks teams will sign free agents and make trades in an effort to improve. It is also the time of year for Royals fans to begin singing the small market blues, whining to anyone that will listen that because of their small market limitations there is no way they can compete with teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Angels. These folks need to stop crying because the 2008 Phillies proved that a team can build a World Series championship team without throwing big money at free agents.

The following table shows how the 2008 World Series championship team was assembled:

Carlos RuizCSigned by Phillies as a non drafted free agent1998
Ryan Howard1BDrafted by the Phillies-5th round2001
Chase Utley2BDrafted by the Phillies-1st round2000
Pedro Feliz3BSigned as a free agent2008
Jimmy RollinsSSDrafted by the Phillies-2nd round1996
Pat BurrellLFDrafted by the Phillies-1st round1998
Shane VictorinoCFRule 5 draft selection-from the Dodgers2004
Jayson WerthRFSigned as free agent-non tendered by Dodgers2006
Cole HamelsSPDrafted by the Phillies-1st round2002
Jamie MoyerSPTrade from Seattle2006
Joe BlantonSPTrade from Oakland2008
Brad LidgeRPTrade from Houston2008

The Phillies have drafted well, made smart trades, signed reasonably priced free agents, and found a good player in the Rule 5 draft. It should also be noted the Phillies payroll to start the 2008 was only 13th in the Major Leagues.

The Kansas City Royals should be following a path similar to the Phillies. Instead of wasting money on free agents like Jose Guillen and trading for below average players like Mike Jacobs, the Royals need to refocus their efforts and financial resources on the draft, scouting, and player development. This process will require a financial committment from owner David Glass and intelligent decisions by GM Dayton Moore. But with patience and a willingness to stick to the plan the Royals can indeed build a contending team.

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