With the GM Meetings in full swing in Boca Raton, Florida, rumors are flying fast and furious. The Mariners and Rays have already pulled a major trade involving six players, and the Braves shipped two-time Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons to the Angels for Erick Aybar and two pitching prospects.
The Kansas City Royals will need to add bullpen pieces with only Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera, and Luke Hochevar under contract for the 2016 season. Lefty Tim Collins will return from Tommy John surgery, and still remains under team control, but the remainder of the 2015 pen are free agents—including lefty specialist Franklin Morales.
Tony Sipp would be an upgrade on Morales. The 31-year-old Sipp pitched 54.1 innings last season with a 1.99 ERA and a 10.3 K/9. That compares to Morales’ 3.18 ERA and 5.9 K/9. Sipp not only can miss bats (career 9.7 K/9, including three straight seasons over 10.0), he’s almost equally effective against right and left handed batters with a .682 OPS against right handed batters and .680 OPS versus lefties.
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While the KC Royals still control Tim Collins, he’s not really a lefty specialist since he has a career reverse platoon split. The team also won’t know exactly what they have since he’s recovering from elbow surgery last spring. Much like Luke Hochevar, Collins will probably only fully recover by the second half of the 2016 season.
Sipp excelled in 2015 while playing half of his games in bandbox Minute Maid park. Moving to spacious Kauffman Stadium, and gaining the KC Royals elite defense, would only increase his effectiveness.
Adding another swing and miss reliever to the Kansas City Royals bullpen would help offset the loss of Greg Holland (Tommy John), and free agents Ryan Madson, Chris Young, and Franklin Morales. Clearly, general manager Dayton Moore wants to continue with the dominant bullpen that has helped Kansas City win two consecutive A.L. pennants.
The Kansas City Royals are casting a wide net to fill out their 2016 bullpen. Not only are they interested in bringing back Ryan Madson and Chris Young, they have been linked to former KC closer Joakim Soria in recent days.
The Kansas City Royals, however, are not the only team interested in Tony Sipp. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Astros are looking to re-sign Sipp and pretty much every team in the American League West like the versatile lefty reliever.