The decision to non-tender Bueno may not appear to be much of a surprise at first glance. After his excellent start, where Bueno had posted a 0.71 ERA and a 1.105 WHiP in his first eleven outings, he struggled for the rest of the season. From July 8th through the rest of 2014, Bueno posted a 6.41 ERA and a 1.475 WHiP. Those numbers down the stretch likely sealed Bueno’s fate.
And yet, it is not as though Francisley Bueno was entirely useless for the Royals. If anything, Ned Yost may not have been using him correctly. What Bueno should be is a true lefty specialist, coming in to face those one or two difficult batters in an attempt to get out of a jam. Last season certainly validates that idea, as Bueno held lefties to a .206/.235/.270 batting line, giving up only two extra base hits in 68 plate appearances.
With teams in desperate need of left handed relievers, Bueno may not be a free agent for long. While his overall numbers, a 4.18 ERA, a 1.330 WHiP and 5.6 strikeouts per nine innings may not impress, a team strictly looking for a lefty specialist should be able to look beyond Bueno’s overall performance. In fact, with the Royals themselves needing that type of a pitcher, they may find themselves regretting the decision to part ways with Bueno.
Francisley Bueno, in the proper role, can play an important part on a willing ballclub, especially given the value of lefty specialists. Hopefully, the decision to non-tender Bueno does not come back to haunt the Royals sometime in the 2015 season.