2023 Kansas City Royals
2023 Kansas City Royals / Franchise: Kansas City Royals / BR Team Page
Managed by Matt Quatraro
History, Comments, Contributions
The 2023 Kansas City Royals began the season by being shut out by the Minnesota Twins in their first two games. They lost 2-0 on Opening Day, March 30th, then after an off-day, lost again by the same score on April 1st. It marked the longest scoreless streak to start a season by a Royals team, easily beating the 11 scoreless innings by the team at the start of the 2012 season. It also made new manager Matt Quatraro the first skipper to start off his career by being on the losing end of two shutouts since Ryne Sandberg had done so with the 2013 Philadelphia Phillies - and only the fourth in major league history.
That rough start was a sign of things to come, as the Royals spent the first half in a neck-and-neck race with the Oakland Athletics for the worst record in the majors. At the All-Star break, they were at 26-65, already 19 1/2 games out of first in a division whose leaders were barely playing .500 ball. In comparison, the A's, who had gone through a historically bas start, were only 1 1/2 games worse, at 25-67. And one could say that the A's were deliberately bad, as part of a cynical strategy to move out of Oakland, CA at the end of the season, whereas the Royals were actually trying to win, having added a number of promising young players over the past couple of seasons, most prominently SS Bobby Witt Jr. and 1B Vinnie Pasquantino. Both were above-average players, but Pasquantino had been lost to injury, likely for the remainder of the season, after just 61 games, and the rest of the team was pretty bad. Even their lone All-Star, C Salvador Perez, was underperforming, with an OPS+ of 98 even if he was still an excellent defensive catcher and leading the team with 15 homers. As can be guessed, pitching was an issue with the two veterans who should have led the staff, Jordan Lyles and Zack Greinke, finishing the first half a combined 2-20, with ERAs of 6.42 and 5.44. When asked to sum up the team's first half, manager Quatraro only had this to say: "It's been frustrating".
The Royals began getting rid of veterans even before the trading deadline. They traded closer Aroldis Chapman as soon as it became clear that he had put the various ailments that had plagued his last season with the New York Yankees behind him, obtaining a couple of prospects from the Texas Rangers in return for him on June 30th, and handing their release to unproductive older players like Jackie Bradley Jr., Amir Garrett and Hunter Dozier in order to give youngsters more playing time. They were likely to make more trades before the end of July, with closer Scott Barlow and IF Nicky Lopez the two most likely to be traded for younger players.
Amidst all this, ownership started talking about the inadequacy of Kauffman Stadium, the team's ballpark since the 1973 season, a rather surprising move given the ballpark was generally considered to be an intemporal classic of understated beauty along the lines of Dodger Stadium. However, the hope was to convince authorities to hop onboard a plan for a downtown ballpark that would include other revenue-generating amenities.
Awards and Honors
- All-Star: Salvador Perez
- Anne Rogers: "'We heard you': Royals bring back full powder blues", mlb.com, February 3, 2023. 
- Jaylon Thompson (The Kansas City Star): "‘It’s been frustrating’: Three takeaways from Kansas City Royals first half of season", Yahoo! News, July 13, 2023.