Zack Greinke would look good wearing a Royals uniform again. (Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE)

Sneak Peek: Free Agent Pitchers the Royals Should Consider This Offseason

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you know the Royals have one glaring need, a shortcoming that will prevent the team from ever reaching the playoffs if it isn’t addressed.  Yes, they need a second baseman.  Yes, they need someone in the bullpen to step up (hopefully Greg Holland) and be the closer.  Yes, they need clutch hits.  Yes, they need Eric Hosmer to find himself and they need to promote Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi.  But all of these needs are trumped by one big hairy gnarling deficiency – Starting pitching.

Prior to the recent trading deadline, conventional wisdom indicated the Royals were seeking major league ready starting pitching to help their struggling staff.  The Royals possess the trading chips that could have secured a big name such as the Cub’s #1, Matt Garza, but they were unwilling to part with them.  When all you’re offering is Yuniesky Betancourt, Jeff Francoeur, Jonathan Broxton, and/or Jose Mijares, you aren’t going to get much in return.

This lack of movement provides us with a clue that it’s unlikely the Royals plan to open up the prospect vault and trade any of their blue chip minor leaguers anytime soon.  This leaves us with the hope that one of the Royals promising pitchers on the farm will suddenly develop into a superstar, which is not likely anytime soon, or maybe, just maybe David Glass might finally consider writing a check during free agency for a legitimate arm to lead the club.

Based on experience, I realize it’s unlikely the Royals will pursue any truly big names, other than the slight possibility that they might go after Greinke.  However, there will be a few “affordable” pitchers available in the coming free agency period who I think the Royals should consider next off season.  I’ll give you my short list showing the current status of these pitchers, and with the exception of Greinke and possibly Jackson, I don’t think the Glass family can make the excuse that any of these guys are too expensive.  Any one (or better yet – two) of these players could provide a positive impact for the club in 2013.

Zack Greinke                   LAA      28 yrs    $13,000,000     9-4 W/L           3.61 era

Brandon McCarthy         OAK     29 yrs   $4,275,000        6-3 W/L             2.54 era

Anibal Sanchez             DET      28 yrs   $8,000,000        6-8 W/L             3.99 era

Edwin Jackson              WSN     28 yrs   $11,000,000      7-7 W/L            3.57 era

Colby Lewis                  TXR      33 yrs   $3,250,000        6-6 W/L             3.43 era

Shaun Marcum              MIN      30 yrs   $7,725,000        5-3 W/L             3.39 era

Joe Saunders                ARI       31 yrs   $6,000,000        5-7 W/L             3.62 era

Almost every one of these athletes carries some type of baggage.  Greinke has his famous personality disorder, Brandon McCarthy has experienced shoulder problems, Colby Lewis is out for the season, etc., etc.  But I’m still confident any one of these players would represent a significant upgrade for the Royals staff.  (I realize that isn’t saying much.)

Now that the race for the pennant is over, at least for the Royals, we need some new story lines to keep us interested.  The decisions regarding who will play a role in the Royals starting rotation in 2013 is destined to be one of the most interesting story lines and probably the issue that will either make or break the team next year.

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Tags: AL Central Anibal Sanchez Baseball Brandon McCarthy Colby Lewis Edwin Jackson Eric Hosmer Greg Holland Jake Odorizzi Jeff Francoeur Jonathan Broxton Kansas City Kansas City Royals KC KC Royals Matt Garza MLB Royals Shaun Marcum Wil Myers Yuniesky Betancourt Zack Greinke

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