As teams throw risky $100 million+ deals at starting pitchers this winter, it’s clear that the Kansas City Royals front office has figured out something about pitching that their rivals have missed.
The KC Royals have done little but address their bullpen and rotation depth so far this winter. Overall, Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore is pursuing the same strategy with respect to free-agency that succeeded so well last winter: they’re letting the market come to them.
At this point, with many of the major free-agent pieces like David Price, Zack Greinke, and Jason Heyward now off the board, we can begin to see what front offices around the league value. It’s clear that starting pitching is in high demand. Price, Greinke, Johnny Cueto, and Jordan Zimmerman inked deals in excess of $100 million, at prices that typically exceeded crowd projections. Jeff Samardzija even got $90 million from the Giants despite slogging through a poor season with a 4.96 ERA.
This emphasis on starting pitching seems a bit strange when you consider that the last five World Series winners have not had a starting staff that ranked in the top ten measured by WAR, highlighted by a no. 22 ranking by the 2015 KC Royals:
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Yeah, looks like you don’t have to be the 1970 Orioles to win the World Series anymore. So why are teams lining up to throw mega-deals at top starters?
Next: The Insane Arms Race For Starting Pitching