KC Royals And Chris Young Working Toward Return


The KC Royals have engaged in conversations with free-agent pitcher Chris Young about a possible return to Kansas City, according to MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan.

General manager Dayton Moore has strongly indicated that the Kansas City Royals want Young to return:

"“We’re hoping perhaps something can get done,” Moore said. “You can make the case that Chris was the MVP of our pitching staff. He performed many roles for us and performed at a high level.“He is a high-character guy and a very competitive player. He is always well prepared and gives everything he has.”"

I have been calling for this move even before the season ended. Chris Young is a cost-effective fit for the KC Royals needs.

Right now, the team has Yordano Ventura, Edinson Volquez, Danny Duffy, and Kris Medlen as possible 2016 starters. Duffy struggled last season before moving to the pen, while Kris Medlen is coming back from his second Tommy John surgery. While Medlen has performed about as well as could be expected (6-2 record, 8 starts, 58.1 innings pitched, 4.01 ERA), only Chris Capuano has ever returned to long-term starting duty following a second TJ surgery.

In short, the Kansas City Royals could use starting pitcher depth.

Enter 36-year-old Chris Young, who stepped in to make 18 starts for the KC Royals in 2015 with a 11-6 record and 3.06 ERA in 123.1 innings pitched. That’s an outstanding 2.5 WAR from a guy that started the season in the bullpen.

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What makes Young a perfect fit as a swingman is that he tends to wear down if he spends too long in the starting rotation. He showed this pattern in 2014 for the Seattle Mariners in his first year back from thoracic outlet surgery (shoulder), which continued in Kansas City in 2015. This reality means even Chris Young realizes he should not try to hold down a full-time starting role.

Given Young’s age and situation, he will not command more than a 2-year contract at most, and will cost somewhere between 5th starter money and a good set-up man.  I think a 2-year, $14 million deal would be very fair.

The beauty of Chris Young is that he’s already shown he can dominate in spurts, especially in the playoffs. Young contributed 15.2 innings pitched with a 2.87 ERA during the 2015 playoffs for the KC Royals, including a critical three-inning relief performance in game 1 of the World Series that earned him his only post-season win. Young also allowed two runs in four innings after getting the start in Game 4, which the Royals won on Daniel Murphy‘s eighth-inning error.

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Since Chris Young excels as BOTH a starter and reliever, he’s the perfect depth guy on KC Royals team that will enter the 2016 season with inevitable rotation questions.