Given the plethora of options that the Kansas City Royals had for their bullpen, as well as the depth of the relief core, the team would have some difficult choices to make. Even with Luke Hochevar starting the season on the disabled list as he continues to rehab from his Tommy John surgery, that only really opens one spot in the bullpen.
The Royals already had to make the decision to waive Rule V acquisition Jandel Gustave last week, despite is solid Spring Training performance. Now, Louis Coleman has been placed on waivers, as the battle for the final bullpen spot appears to be down to Ryan Madson and Brian Flynn.
This certainly is not due to anything that Coleman did to lose his spot. He had quite the strong performance in the Cactus League, posting a 3.55 ERA and a 1.026 WHiP. In his 12.2 innings of work, Coleman struck out 15 batters without allowing a walk, reversing the control issues he faced last season when he walked 18 batters in 34 innings.
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There is still the outside chance that Louis Coleman will remain with the Royals. If he somehow manages to slide through waivers, the Royals could stash him away in Omaha in case of injury or ineffectiveness. However, given the plethora of teams in desperate need of bullpen help, that seems rather unlikely. Chances are, Coleman will be plying his trade on another team in short order.
Given the numerous teams in need of bullpen help, it could be that the Royals can find a trade partner for Coleman’s services. Even though the return may not be anything exciting, the lack of relief pitching throughout baseball could lead to a decent player or prospect coming back. While it may not be the type of player that would dramatically impact the Royals chances this season, a solid bench player or a mid level prospect may not be outside the realm of possibility.
It also helps that Louis Coleman does have a track record of success at the major league level. From 2011 through 2013, Coleman produced a 2.69 ERA and a 1.154 WHiP, striking out 161 batters in 140.1 innings. That type of production would certainly be worth trading for.
Even if Louis Coleman is not going to help the Royals with his pitching this season, he may still make an impact on the future of the team. Given the desperate need of relief help around the majors, Coleman could bring back a decent return.