Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
This may be the biggest hole for the Royals to fill. So much of the Royals success was based on their pitching and defense last year, and the probable loss of James Shields leaves quite the opening in the rotation. While Yordano Ventura and Danny Duffy displayed the potential to be ace caliber pitchers at times last year, they may not be ready to step into that role just yet.
If the Kansas City Royals and Dayton Moore feel that Ventura and/or Duffy can step into that role, then they may just look to bring in a pitcher for the back of the rotation. Should that be the case, then Brandon Finnegan may get the first chance at the job. Finnegan certainly opened some eyes with his performance in September and into the playoffs. As a starter throughout his collegiate career, Finnegan could be a solid addition to the rotation, and another excellent young arm for the Royals to build around.
Otherwise, if the Royals look to free agency, two names have been mentioned as possible fits. A.J. Burnett, who was linked to the Royals in trade rumors before the deadline last year, is once again being mentioned as a possibility as a free agent.
The other intriguing name mentioned is former Royal Ervin Santana. After a less than stellar season in Atlanta, the Royals and Santana have mutual interest in a reunion. Could the Prodigal Santana return?
It appears as though the Kansas City Royals have several options for that spot in the rotation, even if they are unable to retain Shields. However, that is not the only potential hole in the pitching staff.