Kansas City native Shaun Marcum hopefully shows up on the Royals free agent radar. Photo Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

Operation Offseason Improvement: Starting Pitchers who can help the Royals


This offseason we know the Kansas City Royals must get better and the biggest area of improvement must be starting pitching. As a team KC had a 4.30 earned run average which was 10th out of 14 in the American League. Only the Toronto Blue Jays walked more batters in the AL than the Royals who were tied with Cleveland at 3.4 walks/9 innings.

Those are just two measurements of the Royals pitching problems in 2012. Frankly the Detroit Tigers (Tied first in complete games, fourth strikeouts/9 and fifth in strikeouts) and San Francisco Giants (Fourth in team shutouts, sixth in complete game shutouts and seventh in team ERA ) are in the World Series because of how they pitch. It’s been reported/rumored that GMDM will try to get at least two pitchers for next season. Here are five names that I suggest the Royals go after,

Anibal Sanchez, Brandon McCarthy, Dan Haren, Francisco Liriano and Shaun Marcum are those names and here are numbers plus information.

Anibal Sanchez
Age: 28
From: Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela
2012 Club: Miami Marlins/Detroit Tigers
MLB Debut: 6-25-06
2012 Numbers: 5-7, 3.94 w/ Miami/4-6, 3.74 w/ Detroit
Career Win/Loss: 48-51
Why The Royals Should Sign Him: Yes, Sanchez has only two seasons with 10 or more wins (2006 and ’10) and during 2007-09 made 6, 1 and 16 starts during those seasons. Since that stretch he’s made 30+ starts a season he has averaged 175 strikeouts to 53 per season which is nearly 3-to-1. His rookie season he sported a 2.83 ERA which he hasn’t come close to but during the last three seasons it’s been 3.55, 3.67, 3.94 (Miami) and 3.74 (Detroit) which averages out to 3.84. Keep an eye on him during the World Series if you missed his divisional and ALCS starts.

Brandon McCarthy
Age: 29
From: Glendale, California
2012 Club: Oakland Athletics
MLB Debut: 5-22-05
2012 Numbers: 8-6, 3.24
Career Win/Loss: 37-39
Why The Royals Should Sign Him: McCarthy made news this season when he was struck by a line drive to the back of his head that prematurely ended his 2012 season. Once a highly touted star of the White Sox organization he was traded to the Texas Rangers in 2007 but after three largely forgetful seasons he’s remade himself in Oakland. While his numbers don’t look outstanding during this year it’s worth noting that he made only 18 starts due to injury. 2011 is the banner year despite a 9-9 record he threw a career high 170.2 innings, struck out 123 while allowing only 23 walks with a 3.32 ERA. Off the field he’s got one of the better player twitter accounts, not that is a pre-rec but he seems to be a great clubhouse guy.

Dan Haren
Age: 32
From: Monterey Park, California
2012 Club: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
MLB Debut: 6-30-03
2012 Numbers: 12-13, 4.33
Career Win/Loss: 119-97
Why The Royals Should Sign Him: Haren had a down year in 2012 compared to his first two seasons in Anaheim. Seven times has he won 10 or more games posting just three losing seasons. Eight times he’s had 30+ start seasons. Haren has made the three All-Star teams and finished 5th and 7th in Cy Young voting. Another staple is that he strikes guys out without putting them on via walks. 2007 and ’08 with Oakland and Arizona were probably the high mark for his career winning 15 and 16 games. His 2011 season he did win 16 games starting 34 which he finished seventh in the Cy Young voting. Lastly, all of this is moot if the Angels exercise his option for 2013 since I doubt KC would try to swing a trade.

Francisco Liriano
Age: 29
From: San Cristobal, Dominican Republic
2012 Club: Minnesota Twins/Chicago White Sox
MLB Debut: 9-05-05
2012 Numbers: 3-10, 5.31 w/Minnesota/3-2, 5.40 w/Chicago
Career Win/Loss: 53-54
Why The Royals Should Sign Him: Admittedly Liriano has been down since 2010 when he went 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA. That was just two seasons ago under Rick Anderson whose one of the best pitching coaches in baseball. His age intrigues me even if he made his debut seven years ago during the stretch run for the Twins. A lot of this suggestion has to do with the success Dave Eiland had with Jeremy Guthrie when he came over via a trade. He’s got the “stuff” still and putting him in a pitchers friendly park against competition he’s familiar with could revitalize his career.

Shaun Marcum
Age: 31
From: Excelsior Springs, Missouri
2012 Club: Milwaukee Brewers
MLB Debut: 9-06-05
2012 Numbers: 7-4, 3.70
Career Win/Loss: 57-36
Why The Royals Should Sign Him: Yes, my next option debuted a day after the previous suggestion. Many Royals fans know that Marcum is a native son who they like to see return home after making good in Toronto and Milwaukee. For me, having a guy who, if he can shake off injuries, is at the age where maybe a 2-3 year deal looks attractive for him to prove his value and health could work to the Royals advantage. Selling him on coming back on a team that is “close” could also sway his choice since he’s already been to the postseason once and could help lead another team there. His ERA the last four seasons are 3.39, 3.64, 5.54 and 3.70 before last season his strikeouts had risen each year. He missed a total of two months in 2012 due to a sore elbow but with the Brewers put up a two year total of 20-11 with a 3.62 ERA.

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  • jimfetterolf

    I like Sanchez and McCarthy on pure talent, but Sanchez is the #2 FA this year and unlikely to want to come to KC while McCarthy has injury issues. I think Marcum has already announced he doesn’t want to come home. Dan Haren might be most likely to sign an overpaid, too long contract to come to KC, a Gil Meche sort of deal.