Kansas City Royals Free Agency Options

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Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Well you go find your 2016 Madsons and Morales.

Besides some non tender candidates coming available…why not keep bringing in former Reds’ pitchers that seem to be working out.

Mat Latos had one heck of a bad 2015 season while being traded twice! 4-10 with a 4.95 ERA over 24 games, including 21 starts before being moved to the Dodgers bullpen. Latos won 57% of the time before this minor injury filled season and still sports a lifetime 3.51 ERA. Imagine this being a 1 year pillow contract for Latos to reestablish his free agent stock, sort of like Nelson Cruz in 2014 with the Orioles. Landing in defending World Championship Kansas City would be attractive to a pitcher like Latos trying to bounce back from minor injuries, and 2016 would be a full season removed from his 2014 spring training accident in Goodyear, Arizona that required knee surgery.

Nab Latos on a 1 year deal for $8.5 Million with incentives to give him another $4 Million or so and I think you have a nice starter determined to get back to elite status for a 2017 payday.

So now you have to find some bullpen magic again in the free agent market. I look at one name who will take more than Madson signed for but the upside is the same result. Jason Motte signed with the Cubs for 2015 on a 1 year deal that paid him $4.5 Million, posting a 3.91 ERA over 57 games while saberstat WHIP had him at a more desirable 3.61 for 2015. The Kansas City Royals strength is obviously defense and handing the ball over the bullpen in the 7th to lock down games. Motte gives you a bulldog in the pen who can bridge that 7th inning to Herrera and even close games in a pinch. He saved 42 games for the Cardinals in 2012 before injuries cost him all of 2013 and he now has 2 seasons under his belt and his motion and mechanics look great. Motte is still only 33, so 2 years and $9.5 Million could lure him to the Royals.

Looking at the rest of the holes… another outfielder and bargain basement bullpen piece are needed. As I mentioned the non-tender candidates before, I see Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold as a viable candidate. Reimold posted a .344 OBP in a part time role for Baltimore in 2015 and lifetime .327 OBP. If he is non-tendered, somewhere between $1-$2 Million would be worth adding him to the mix.

That Madson-type reliever to round out the shopping?

Take a chance on right hander Mark Lowe. He rebooted himself posting a 1.00 ERA with the Mariners before a midseason trade to Toronto where his ERA went back up to 3.79 but his 0.84 WHIP with the Blue Jays tells me he had some bad luck on balls in play. 1.05 WHIP and 2.57 FIP tell you a better story about his entire 2015. While I don’t think you’re going to get Lowe on another minor league contract or for Madson’s $850,000 conversation started minor league contract. Offering Lowe $1.5-$2.5 Million could bring him to K.C.

If you go through all the arbitration cases, insurance claims, and payroll adjustments the Royals will be around $95 Million before any of the above moves. There have been reports that the 2016 payroll will be $130+Million. If you creatively structured Gordon and Zobrist’s deals like Morales from last off-season, you could be around $135 Million with the above transactions and back in the playoffs for 2016.

Next: Royals All Time 25 Man Roster

Hey David Glass, the fans showed up.

Time to do the same.