CHICAGO (AP) — As the Kansas City Royals added to their roster during the offseason, Billy Butler was glad the team embraced the task at hand instead of eyeing the future.
The Royals are in a win-now mode and believe they are poised to make a big jump in the AL Central starting with Monday’s opener against the Chicago White Sox.
“There’s no reason we shouldn’t be better,” Butler said Sunday. “How much better that is? I’m not a mind reader. I’m not a projector. ... Our talent’s higher than it’s ever been since I’ve been here.”
After going 72-90 for their 17th losing season in 18 years, they believe they’re ready to become a winner.
“We’re still young, we’re still growing,” manager Ned Yost said. “We’re going to have ups and we’re going to have downs, but I think we’re in a much better position to be successful this year just because of the maturity factor.”
While the Royals made some big moves, including a trade with Tampa Bay for ace James Shields, the White Sox largely kept their roster intact. Even so, they believe they have enough to challenge Detroit for the AL Central title.
They led the division for 117 days last season before a 2-10 slide in late September dropped them to 85-77, three games behind Detroit.
Chicago’s biggest offseason moves were re-signing pitcher Jake Peavy before he could become a free agent and giving a five-year deal to Chris Sale — the opening-night starter — after a 17-win season. The White Sox also shuffled their front office, promoting Rick Hahn to general manager and Ken Williams to executive vice president, and let catcher A.J. Pierzynski sign with Texas.
As for splashy additions? They left that to the rest of the division.