Let's set aside all the facts we have on Jeff Francoeur. Let's forget all the things that must go right for the Royals starting rotation to combine for 60 victories (a standard plateau for playoff-caliber staffs). Outside of right field and the rotation, what would you say is the Royals' most glaring question mark?
Fair to say second base? I think so. Enough of a question mark that manager Ned Yost answered questions about the coming battle between Chris Getz and Johnny Giavotella for playing time at the position.
Coincidentally, while Yost was talking about two replacement-level infielders, the Oakland A's — a franchise with a plan — traded for Jed Lowrie, who will likely serve as an uber utility man. Lowrie can play every infield position, including...drum roll...second base!
Just like Dayton Moore should have known the Marlins were primed to sell off players when the offseason began, Moore should have known nothing in Houston was nailed down and Lowrie in particular should have been a target. Instead, he was too busy pinning his $1 million hopes on Miguel Tejada.
For the record, Lowrie — who posted a 2.5 WAR in 2012 despite missing time, compared to Getz and Giavotella's combined WAR of -0.2 — will make just $2.4 million this season, is arbitration eligible for 2014 and wouldn't be a free agent until 2015. He switch hits. And he wears a double-flapped batting helmet.
He's exactly the kind of player a contending team adds as a final piece of the puzzle. By comparison, Marco Scutaro, who signed a 3-year, $20 million deal this offseason, also posted a 2.5 WAR last season. Scutaro also would have fit in nicely with the Royals, especially if Moore thinks the team needs veteran leaders, but I can understand why he was priced out of the Royals' range (plus he's 37 while Lowrie is going on 29). Moore doesn't have the same excuse with Lowrie.
The only case I can come up with against the Royals landing Lowrie is they probably couldn't offer the Astros a power bat like Chris Carter, who the A's sent packing along with solid prospects Brad Peacock and Max Stassi. If the Astros wouldn't settle for less than a big bat, a top pitching prospect and catching prospect, then the Royals obviously wouldn't be a good fit.
However, believe it or not, I'm an optimist. I like to look at why something can happen, not why it can't. So, once again, if Dayton Moore were serious about making the Royals a contender this season, he would have found a way to add Jed Lowrie to his roster.
But Moore isn't serious. He hasn't come to "win" in 2013. He's Come to Play.
Fire Dayton Moore