The Royals have fielded a lot of pretty miserable teams over the past decade. But one thing that probably shouldn't be said, is that they've been cheapskates. No, they haven't fielded huge payrolls, but compared to teams like the Marlins, Pirates, Rays, and Padres, the Royals have at least shown some willingness to spend money.
Now, following the trade of Zack Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt, which rid the team of about 17.5m in salary from their projected 2011 payroll, the Royals find themselves at just around 42m dollars in projected payroll. That mark, should it hold, would be the lowest opening day payroll for the Royals since 2005, and would be just the second time since 2002 that they had such a miniscule payroll.
Given that the Royals have opened the past two seasons with payrolls of over 70m, it would seem that they probably have at least a little money to spend. Now, I'm not suggesting that the Royals are candidates to make a big splash or anything, but thy certainly have some payroll to utilize in shoring up their bullpen or rotation. Both of which are frighteningly thin. That said, the team has a multitude of talented youngsters in it's system, and any signings should be shorter (1-2 years) in length to allow for those young players to come up when they're ready.
If we assume that the Royals now have another 15-20m to work with - which would bring them into the 55-60m range - then perhaps making a run at a bounce back player (Brandon Webb?) could work. It could give fans a reason to come to the ballpark and it'd provide Webb with a nice rebound opportunity. Certainly Webb is a long shot, he's going to get solid offers from a couple contenders, this much we know. But with so much payroll in hand, and the deal being for just one or two years, the Royals can afford to overpay a bit.
Another other option of course, would be to reinvest that money elsewhere - like the international market and perhaps make a couple big signings out of the Caribbean? Maybe you draft some tough-sign candidates in the draft and make aggressive offers to try and lure them away from college ball. This draft class is supposed t be one of the deeper ones in the past few years after all.
Either way, the Royals should have some money to work with. It'll be interesting to see how they decide to utilize it.