No surprise here. Danny Duffy is already a given to be in the Royals 2015 starting rotation. Photo by Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Suspense of 2015 Kansas City Royals rotation settled

Jeremy Guthrie will be a fixture in the Royals lineup for 2015 and possibly 2016: Photo by Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

With all the suspense of watching tape-delayed Olympics at night after hearing the results all day, any uncertainty of who will start in the Kansas City Royals pitching rotation has been reduced to a yawner.
Only the fifth spot is up for grabs. A bushel-full of arms are vying for the end of the rotation spot. You know, the one that gets skipped every now and then in rotation depending on off days and rest?
No, it’s not the middle podium of starting spots. Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy, Luke Hochevar and Wade Davis are the front runners.
But anyone who thinks Davis or Hochevar aren’t more valuable in the pen, or rather have proven their inability to perform in the rotation, has had one too many snowboarding accidents without a helmet.
The fifth spot is down to Ventura and Duffy. One will be in Kansas City. One will be in Omaha. The one in Omaha will start every 5 days and be ready to jump in when the one, or anyone, in Kansas City falters.

Jason Vargas is one-fifth of the Royals 2015 pitching rotation that is already set. Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I’m as sure of that as I am sure my mother disapproves of the short, revealing outfits the women figure skaters wear during the Olympics.
So, with all the suspense taken out of Spring Training, perhaps a look ahead to the 2015 rotation would generate more excitement and guess work?
Uh, no. Sorry. The 2015 rotation is already set.
Unlike this year’s rotation, there won’t be any spots up for grabs in next year’s rotation. Ventura, Danny Duffy, Jeremy Guthrie, Jason Vargas and Kyle Zimmer are locks. And all five of those are locked up past 2015, including Guthrie if the Royals exercise a $10 million option for 2016. How amazing is it that Royals general manger Dayton Moore has rotation certainty for several years to come?
Three home-grown talents and two free agents.

Go ahead and write Yordano Ventura’s name in the lineup as a starter in 2015 for the Kansas City Royals. Photo by John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

James Shields is gone. Enjoy him while he’s here. After this year, he will want 6 or so  years in the neighborhood of $150 gajillion. That’s not how the Royals can or will play this game.
Luke Hochevar will be a free agent. After another, hopefully, successful year in the bullpen he will be even more pricey and even more entrenched as a reliever. Even if the Royals somehow pull a “Bruce Chen” and sign Hochevar to a year contract for 2015, he won’t start again.
Wade Davis will still be under contract. He could…oh, no, no, no. I’d rather be Nancy Kerrigan getting hit on the knee by Tanya Harding’s thug than endure Davis starting again.
The Royals could chase 2015 free agents such as Wandy Rodriguez or Homer Bailey. Time will tell, however. Ventura and Zimmer look like the real deal. Duffy and hope go hand in hand. And Vargas should be Steady Eddie. So why not? It’ s about time the Royals cultivated some pitching of their own and had some luck in free agency. They’re more due for luck that a Jamaican bobsled team.
Need some more home-grown talent that can fill a rotation spot in 2015? How about these true-Blue talents: Aaron Crow, Chris Dwyer and Donnie Joseph.

When James Shields bids adieu at the end of 2014 and clears $13.5 million in payroll, the free agent targets in the Royals sights will be the ones who swing bats, not hurl rawhide.
When is the last time the Royals have been in this position? Certainly well before they relied on the likes of guys named Runelvys Hernandez, Kyle Snyder and Kyle Davies.
Are you ready to award at least the silver to Dayton Moore?








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  • jimfetterolf

    Of Duffy and Ventura, both will be limited to 175-180 innings, so the question is do you shut them down early or late? Plus Ventura will have service time issues. This year’s rotation beyond Shields, Guthrie, and Vargas is still up in the air. Next year’s rotation could likely see Guthrie traded to make room.

    • jessanders

      No one is going to want Guthries contract… He’s a sub average pitcher with a high salary.

      • jimfetterolf

        He’s a quality start pitcher, 6.1 innings, <3 innings per start, that has quite a bit of value in real baseball.

        • Tyler_KC_Fan

          Guthrie should end his career with the Royals. He’s made it very clear that he will do whatever he can to stay with the Royals, too. Guthrie is one of my favorite player and he is very consistant. Also, the only Royal last year to have a complete shutout game and he did it twice. Like jmferrerolf said, he’s a quality pitcher and an innings eater.

          • jimfetterolf

            I like Guthrie, don’t mean to sound like I don’t, maybe I’m just optimistic about the young guys and maybe even Shields extending.

          • Tyler_KC_Fan

            I would absolutely love a Shields contract, but if he continues with how he has been pitchinng the Royals aren’t going to have enough money to keep him. I would love for them to keep him so we didn’t waste one of the ROY RF in Myers, but I don’t see Shields coming back next year. I see next year being Ventura, Zimmer, Duffy, Guthrie and Vargas time to shine.

    • kibo

      yost has already said Chen is in so there are four spots taken and only one is left as the article stated. And why in the world would Guthrie need to be traded if shields is gone and Chen is gone? Jim you seem to be argumentative for no reason.

      • jimfetterolf

        Yost and Moore say lots of things. If you’ve been following the Royals the last few years you would know that.

  • jessanders

    Coming up behind Zimmer/et all is another nice looking crop of Almonte, Manea and Adam (maybe Binford?). Look for them in 2016/2017.

    IF two of Ventura, Duffy and Zimmer pan out, and at least one of those three pan out, I have to give GMDM credit.

  • Tyler_KC_Fan

    Homer Bailey is working on an extention that is supposed to be somewhere in the $100M range with the Reds before the year starts. Any money the Royals have once Shields leave needs to go straight to Hosmer. Our pitching, theoretically, should be set for next year. We need to make sure we extend Hosmer before anything else though. Then we have to look at Gordon, hopefully Moose if he plays to his potential and then looking at Holland. Kemble just signed a 4/42M extention which looks like something the Royals will be looking at. So instead of looking for another pitcher, why don’t we look at our own players and start working on extentions.

  • moretrouble

    Alan, you may be entirely correct in your predictions, but when predictions meet reality, things can get weird. Timetables for young players are unpredictable, injuries can force change, and despite whatever plans KC makes, where they finish in the standings makes a lot of difference in what they do next winter.

    Regarding Shields, his value to KC is based on their need for him. I can’t imagine KC going into the following season without an established number one starter. Whether one among Duffy, Ventura or Zimmer establish themselves as the go-to guy this year remains to be seen. Neither Guthrie, nor Vargas, are my idea of a number one. Further, if KC makes the playoffs, they become an attractive place for players to sign. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Shields and the Royals have a mutual interest in common.

    As far as this year’s rotation is concerned, I think the pitchers, themselves, will determine the last two spots — and I don’t think Chen is a foregone conclusion in the 4 hole. Although, they have penciled him in there, I think they’ll find plenty of alternatives in camp and my feeling is Chen is better placed as a swing man. You’re probably right — Chen said he signed because they promised him a starting spot, but you never know; things can change.

    • The Plaindealer

      Trouble…injuries are the wild card. Indeed, you’re right. As far as Chen is concerned, I see him getting 12 or so starts before the ASB, then Zimmer slipping in that spot. That’s easier to spot than reading tea leaves. Article in the Star today noted that Zimmer is not starting workouts for a few weeks so he can be fresh in the latter part of the year. Personally, I can’t wait to see Zimmer. It’ll be interesting if he becomes the 2014 version of the Cardinals ‘ Wacha.

  • Christian camlin

    First this article is a practical Chrystal ball as long as injuries and poor performance do not cause changes.Some thoughts here.Zimmer will come up this year but is unlikely to perform well in 2014.And at least one of our veterans will get hurt.That said the contracts pretty much force the teams hand.Zimmer will take about 2 seasons to adjust though I suspect Duffy and Ventura are ready for the majors now.I still think we need 1 more proven starter on our team and several teams now have too many and are benching or dumping proven starters.All that said I suspect we will pay dearly for dumping Paulino.Not only will he succeed but as a member of the White Sox we are likely to see him often.And on Shields this could be a major negotiation especially if it becomes clear that the Kiddy core may not be ready for prime time.I suspect we will contend this year but if Duffy,Ventura or Zimmer stumble we may be forced to pay Shields the 25 Million a year for 6 years that he deserves.If 2 of them stumble the situation may look desperate this fall.If all 3 do we are looking at having to do a fire sale or make some very inventive trades.

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