Royals ace Zack Grienke did not hold back in expressing his disappointment over the Royals' 2009 season. The Royals really should listen to Grienke, considering he emerged as the face of the franchise after the 2009 season.
"We'll see when the offseason comes what all we do," Greinke said. "I thought we'd be better than we've been, but we kind of proved this year that we still need more than we have to compete."
Mike Jacobs was a flop, and the injuries to Alex Gordon and Coco Crisp certainly hurt their chances. Their prize from the 2007 offseason, Gil Meche, has put up three straight double-digit losses, and finished the 2009 season with a 5.09 ERA.
The Royals need to make an investment on an impact player, because Alex Gordon is struggling to live up to potential, and Billy Butler's biggest test will come next season, when we'll see if he can continue to swing a hot bat.
If the Royals have another disappointing season, and Grienke has another Cy Young-like season, we should expect to hear whispers of a Grienke trade.
Grienke isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2012 season, but he is looking to sign an extension if the team doesn't invest more in winning. If the Royals can't lure any top players on the free agent market, then they'll likely have to shop Zack Grienke for a boatload of young prospects.
Grienke will turn 30 during the 2012 offseason, meaning his value could be at its peak coming into the 2011 season. The Royals would be smart to consider making that move so they can start the rebuilding process, because right now they are in a state of funk.