Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Two months ago, I said that the Kansas City Royals starting rotation may end up being their achilles heel. Now, as we approach the All-Star break, we can remove any and all doubt.
As I sit here, the Royals boast the league’s best defensive efficiency ratio (.716), best bullpen ERA (2.03), and 2nd best team batting average (.270). Their run differential is a solid +56, and they’re still far and away the team with the fewest number of strikeouts. When it comes to starting pitching, however, they have nothing to brag about. They’re 24th in ERA (4.40), and dead last in innings pitched. The Arizona Diamondback’s rotation, which ranks 28th in innings pitched, have thrown over 30 more innings than KC’s.
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In their defense, not much has gone right when it comes to the Royals starting rotation. Guys they were totally counting on, who were instrumental to last year’s success, have all struggled and/or spent an extended amount of time on the disabled list. Chris Young, who the Royals weren’t initially sure would even make the opening day roster, has become one of the team’s best, most reliable starters. Take that for what you will.
Even if the Royals are able to get all of their original starters healthy again for the 2nd half of the season, which at this point seems unlikely, they still aren’t projected to improve a whole heck of a lot. The bottom line is this: they need to go out and get someone via a trade. Not Johnny Cueto or Cole Hamels. As nice as they’d be to have, the Royals don’t have the money or the inclination to give up big time future prospects for a half season rental. Here’s who they should target–guys who are both affordable, and could make a huge difference…
Next: The question marks