The Kansas City Royals are still mathematically alive in the wild card chase, but with a loss on Sunday and a win by the Minnesota Twins, their chances are becoming more slim by the day. With just seven games remaining and being 5.5 games back, the Royals will need a miracle for them to make the postseason for the third time in the last four seasons.
With playoff hopes quickly fading and the looming 2017 offseason quickly approaching, an end of an era may be upon us this coming winter. Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, and Jason Vargas are all set to be free agents this offseason and the Royals could be looking at rebuilding with the likely departures of many of them. Although they will tell you they are not considered about it at this point, the Royals are preparing for life without many of the key parts that led to their first World Series title in 30 seasons.
Although there are many veterans that will be returning, there will and should be plenty of competition heading into Spring Training in 2018. In 2015, Raul Mondesi became the first player to make their major league debut in the World Series. Since then, however, Mondesi has struggled to find his way in the big leagues, appearing in just 69 games over the past two seasons. Mondesi’s speed and athletic ability make him a force on the base paths and the potential to be an excellent fielder, and has shown at times he has power with the bat as well.
Mondesi has spent his major and minor league careers playing only shortstop and second base, and with the unknown future of shortstop Alicides Escobar, it would make since for Mondesi to overtake that position.
However, there has been talk if Lorenzo Cain signs elsewhere, Mondesi could be the Royals new center fielder. With Whit Merrifield finding a home at second base and Ramon Torres possibly playing shortstop, center field would be an interesting option for Mondesi to try to learn this offseason. Mondesi is definitely athletic enough to play the position and has a very strong arm that would bode well for him as well.
If the Royals do fall out of the playoff picture in the next couple of games, manager Ned Yost might consider giving Mondesi some playing time in the outfield in the final week of the season. The Royals do have Paulo Orlando to play center field in 2018, as well as both Jorge Soler and Jorge Bonifacio as outfield options alongside Gold Glover Alex Gordon.
The Royals have a lot of deicisons to make this offseason, but moving Raul Mondesi to the outfield may one of the more intriguing ones that we should keep an eye on.
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