KC Royals Hand Has Been Forced with Starting Rotation


Prior to Tuesday night, there seems to be two schools of thought in regards to the KC Royals starting rotation. The first thought was that the Royals needed to trade for a top of the rotation starter, someone who could match up with the Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw types that one could conceivably face in the postseason. The other train of thought was that the bullpen was deep enough to cover for the weaknesses in the rotation, and with the reinforcements of Jason Vargas and Kris Medlen set to return, the more pressing need was to upgrade the Royals lineup.

With the news that Vargas has a torn ulnar collateral ligament and will need to undergo Tommy John surgery, it seems that the Royals hand has been forced. Even though they had been linked to several pitchers, most notably Johnny Cueto, that pitching upgrade was not a given. Now, the Royals depth at starting pitcher is not nearly the strength it had been.

If there is to be a positive to Vargas’ injury, it would be that it occurred before the trade deadline. Now, Dayton Moore and the Royals front office have eight days to make a move to solidify the rotation, even if this means bringing in another middle of the rotation arm. The Royals will have time to access their needs on the pitching staff, which have become magnified over the past couple of days.

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At this point, the KC Royals may find themselves with Edinson Volquez as the only pitcher they can truly count on. Yordano Ventura, returned from his less than 24 hour trek to Omaha, and Danny Duffy have been inconsistent. Chris Young has been solid, but is more of a back of the rotation starter than a pitcher that can be counted on to carry a rotation. Jeremy Guthrie is a solid veteran, but is nothing more than a fifth starter. Kris Medlen is a giant question mark, and may not be ready for the rotation until later in the year.

The Royals pitching depth, as of this point, consists of Joe Blanton and possibly John Lamb. Even though it would not be that much of a surprise to see Lamb get a chance at some point, that is not even close to the depth that the Royals felt they had at the start of the year. Add in the inconsistencies of the young starters, as well as the Royals bullpen having pitched the fourth most innings in baseball prior to last night’s game, and moves seemingly need to be made.

At this point, the KC Royals can no longer be on the fence about acquiring a starting pitcher. The injury to Jason Vargas has forced their hand.

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