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Royals put all their chips on the table

It might seem to some that the cross-state rival Royals must have lost their minds for a little while to trade a boatload of prospects for Rays ace James Shields.

But I get what they're going for. After all, what good does it do to be in perpetual rebuilding mode?

The fans in that town, which hasn't seen a sniff of the playoffs since 1985, long ago gave up on the local nine. And Kansas City needed to do something to create some excitement. After all, the only way that team is going to become competitive is if it can become a draw on a consistent basis.

It's also a good time for the Royals to make a move because the American League Central has come back to the pack. The Tigers are a high payroll team that only had an 88-74 record, the same win-lose mark as the barely won the second wildcard Cardinals. The White Sox aren't exactly what they used to be and the Twins seem to be retooling with the trade of two of their best outfielders.

Kansas City used to be just as much of a baseball town as St. Louis. But years of being out of contention on opening day has a way of wearing on fans. And if I was a billionaire who owned the Royals, I'd do the same thing: Buy a bunch of veteran talent to try to jump start the enthusiasm around the franchise.

Of course the down side is that no single great player can turn a baseball team around. Zack Grienke won a Cy Young Award with a mediocre Kansas City squad. And that wasn't enough to light the fires. But if the Royals stink again in 2013, at least they can trade Shields to a contender at the deadline to recover some of their lose farm system. And no one can accuse them of not trying.