Kansas City Royals Should Look to Washington, Baltimore and Oakland for Hope

Paul Francis Sullivan@@sullybaseballChief Writer INovember 12, 2012

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 26: Mike Moustakas #8 of the Kansas City Royals drives the ball for a base hit against the Detroit Tigers during a MLB game at Comerica Park on September 26, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
Dave Reginek/Getty Images

The Kansas City Royals have the longest postseason drought of any team in baseball. When the Washington Nationals clinched a playoff spot this year, it assured that every single team had made the playoffs since 1992, with the exception of the Royals.

But the rapid turn around of not only the Nationals but also the playoff-bound Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles should be an inspiration for the Royals going into 2013.

With Washington, Baltimore and Oakland doing such terrific turnarounds, one would think that they made an offseason splash. But in fact they did not pull off blockbuster moves, save for Oakland trading away almost every pitcher that anyone had ever heard of for young players.

It was the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Miami Marlins who dominated last winter. And then spent last October watching the games on TV.

Nor did the teams rock the boat with a earth shattering mid-season deal. The Los Angeles Dodgers made the biggest noise in midseason, then joined the Angels and Marlins on the sidelines.

The Nationals, Orioles and A's all had talent that happened to mature at once. It was less about what they traded and more about who they kept.

The Royals are loaded with young talent. The team already has Billy Butler and Alex Gordon in their line up. Eric Hosmer had a down year but could rebound. Wil Myers is as highly touted a hitter as the minor leagues has to offer.

The likes of Salvador Perez, Alcides Escobar and Mike Moustakas will be back.

Their pitching is not exactly deep. But Jeremy Guthrie will be there for the whole season. And who is to say that Will Smith and Luke Hochevar might not improve next year? Or that Earvin Santana and Chris Volstad won't improve with a change of scenery? And Jake Odorizzi is on the verge of being a major leaguer.

Young pitchers like Kelvin Herrera and Tim Collins and Greg Holland pitched well out of the bullpen.

There is talent on this team. And almost every season, there is a surprise contender filled with players who blossomed all at once.

Remember how nobody expected the Diamondbacks to be a factor in 2011? Or the Padres in 2010?

The Royals have many of the pieces of a solid team. The combination was not done cooking in 2012.

If it is ready next year, Royals fans, be prepared to see October baseball for the first time since 1985.