The Royals last made the playoffs in 1985, the longest drought in major-league baseball.
A lack of quality starting pitching always seems to hold Kansas City back, but general manager Dayton Moore addressed the issue earlier in the off-season by retaining free-agent Jeremy Guthrie and acquiring Ervin Santana in a trade with the Los Angeles Angels.
While the two moves bolstered the rotation, the Royals still were searching for a proven No. 1 starter. They got one Sunday in a trade with the Rays, landing workhorse right-hander James Shields along with hard-throwing Wade Davis, who also figures to join K.C.'s starting five.
Getting Shields and Davis wasn't easy, and Moore wound up sending the Royals' No. 1 prospect -- outfielder Wil Myers -- and promising minor league starter Jake Odorizzi to Tampa Bay.
Splitting last season between Class AA Northwest Arkansas and AAA Omaha, Myers batted .314 with 37 home runs and 109 RBI.
Given their long run of futility, the Royals obviously are looking to win now. With the addition of Shields and Davis, the 2013 AL Central race now includes Kansas City along with the Detroit Tigers and the White Sox.
"You knew Kansas City was going to look to add pitching to that young offensive core they've had," Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "It wasn't a surprise to see them do it, and they certainly did it in a big way that makes them stronger.
"They picked up two very good arms. It should make the AL Central race more interesting."
It's been pretty quiet on the A.J. Pierzynski rumor front, with the Yankees, Rays, Mets, Rangers and Dodgers reportedly showing varying degrees of mild interest in the free-agent catcher.
There still seems to be a chance Pierzynski returns to the White Sox, but GM Rick Hahn is no longer interested in discussing details.
"Were not going to give any updates," Hahn said. "I think we're better served by not providing conversation-by-conversation or blow-by-blow updates on how the talks are going, other than saying we're in regular contact and the dialogue has been very open and honest from our perspective about expectations and fit.
"I would expect them to continue in that vein until there's some resolution, one way or another."