Heading into this offseason, a lot of focus was placed upon the Royals bullpen. Specifically, it was expected that the Royals would trade a reliever; and no, the trade of Aaron Crow does not count towards that. Either Wade Davis or Greg Holland were expected to be moved, as the Royals were thought to be unable to afford to keep both.
Yet, the Royals may well want to trade of of that triumvirate regardless. There are few quality relievers available at this point, and the Royals bullpen depth is truly unmatched. While the Royals may look to keep that lockdown duo of Holland and Davis for one more year, it may be in their best interests to listen to trade offers for Kelvin Herrera.
It may seem counter-intuitive to trade the pitcher who is likely to be the least expensive of the trio, but Herrera’s value may never be higher. His numbers were certainly excellent, as he posted a 1.41 ERA and a 1.143 WHiP, but those numbers are likely to spike next season. In fact, Herrera’s ERA was 1.28 runs lower than his FIP, indicating a great deal of luck was involved.
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One of the primary reasons for that difference was that Kelvin Herrera did not allow a single home run last season. While it is true that the same could be said of Wade Davis, Herrera’s sudden ability to keep the ball in the yard came a season after he allowed nine home runs in just 58.2 innings of work. In fact, Herrera was actually hit harder last year compared to 2013, as he gave up a line drive on 26.9% of balls in play, compared to 18.4% the previous season. Despite that difference, Herrera’s batting average in balls in play against rose by .001 points, going from .280 to .281.
If ever there appeared to be a reliever on the verge of regression, it would appear to be Kelvin Herrera. That magical 2014 season, where Herrera was such a force, could soon become nothing more than a fond memory. Yet, with the market for relievers being what it is, he may be the perfect pitcher for the Royals to trade to see if they can get something interesting back.
As the Royals are also rumored to be interested in trading Omar Infante, to not only get out of his contract, but to potentially create an opportunity for playing time for Christian Colon, Herrera could be used to sweeten the pot. In exchange for taking on Infante, that team could get a viable piece for their bullpen, without the Royals really suffering too much of a loss of depth.
If the Royals are to eventually trade one of their relievers this offseason, Kelvin Herrera would appear to be the most logical choice. Considering how improbable it is that he could replicate the 2014 season, the time to move him may be now.