July 8, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Brad Penny (31) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the sixth inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 13-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Penny Signed by the Kansas City Royals

September 23, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Brad Penny (31) pitches the ball against the San Diego Padres during the eighth inning at AT

Seemingly since the signing of Jason Vargas, it had been expected that the Royals would sign a reclamation project to fill out their rotation. Johan Santana and Jason Hammel were linked to the Royals, at it seemed like a matter of time before another starter was added to compete to be the fifth starter. Now, the waiting has come to an end, as the Royals have finally signed that reclamation project. That pitcher is none other than…..Brad Penny?

If you had thought that Penny had disappeared or retired, you were not that far off. After struggling through two difficult seasons in 2011 and 2012, Penny took last year off to rest what he said was a tired shoulder. Over those last two seasons, Penny put together an 11-12 record with a 5.41 ERA, striking out only 84 batters in 209.2 innings of work as a starter and a reliever. As expected with those numbers, Penny had difficulty keeping runners off base, with a 1.598 WHiP during that span.

Why should there even be the slightest bit of hope that Brad Penny, at age 35, could be of any use to the Royals? Well, according to reports, Penny has been impressive during his workouts over the winter. To counteract his shoulder getting tired, Penny has been attempting to build strength through weightlifting, and the early returns do appear to be positive.

Signed to a minor league contract, there is no risk in signing Penny. If he can perform during Spring Training and prove that he can actually be a viable major league pitcher again, great. Should the Royals want him to start the season in Omaha to prove that he has something left in the tank, then they can go that route as well. And if he still looks like the pitcher he was from 2011 and 2012, the Royals can let him go without any major loss.

Now we know who the Royals reclamation project is going to be. Brad Penny may not be Johan Santana or even Jason Hammel, but he is the lottery ticket they are going to try to cash.

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  • jimfetterolf

    Lottery ticket and a 35 year old veteran presence to hep the kids in Omaha. Penny gets a few grounders and his fastball speed has only dropped a couple of mph since his glory days. Penny has been working out in a KC suburb, Lenexa, so the Royals probably had eyeballs on him.

  • moretrouble

    I don’t see a downside to this signing. It either works or not and if it doesn’t, it didn’t cost much to find out. I’m trying not to read anything into the signing other than that, but I suspect KC may be planning a casting call for a fifth starter at spring training. Who knows, maybe Garth Brooks will show up.

  • hemroid

    I would think there has been thought about doing this for some time. It probably depended on whether or not Penny thought he could perform. I wonder if he thought he could or did in 2011 or 2012?