Kansas City Royals Facing Pitching Staff Crunch
By David Hill
There is the old axiom that one can never have too much pitching. In the case of the Kansas City Royals, that starting rotation depth served them well, as Chris Young and Joe Blanton have done a solid job filling in while the rotation dealt with injury problems.
However, those reinforcements for the rotation are beginning to return. Kris Medlen will be activated from the disabled list on Monday, and even though he is slated to begin his Royals career in the bullpen, Medlen could find his way into the rotation sooner rather than later. Likewise, Jason Vargas is expected to return to the Royals shortly as well, as he has begun his rehab assignment.
The Royals will need to make several difficult decisions, not only with their starting rotation, but with the pitching staff as a whole. Already, those difficult decisions have started, as Jason Frasor was released in order to add Paulo Orlando to the roster.
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The approaching returns of both Medlen and Vargas will make for more shuffling of the Kansas City Royals pitching staff. Chances are, when Medlen returns, Brandon Finnegan will once again be shuffled down to the Omaha Storm Chasers. However, when Vargas comes back, the Royals will likely once again find themselves with a difficult decision as to which pitcher is removed from the rotation and the staff.
Chances are, Chris Young will be sent back to the bullpen for Jason Vargas. While Young has performed admirably since being thrust into a starting role, he does have a 4.21 ERA since the start of June. That is partially due to some bad luck, given his 1.188 WHiP in that same time frame, but he may be considered the more expendable option in the rotation.
This could end up spelling the end for a pitcher like Joe Blanton. Blanton had two excellent starts after a nice run in relief, but he has struggled as of late. In his last three outings, Blanton has allowed twelve runs on 17 hits and four walks in only eight innings of work. That certainly would make Blanton appear to be the most likely option to be designated for assignment.
The reinforcements are coming for the Kansas City Royals pitching staff, at least internally. Once they arrive, the Royals will have a few difficult decisions to make.