Kansas City Royals: Bargain Rotation Targets

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Sep 20, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Mark Buehrle (56) throws against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre. Boston defeated Toronto 4-3. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Buehrle

Thirty-seven year old Mark Buehrle has been a horse throughout his 16-year career. Last season was the first year his failed to chew up 200 innings since his debut season at age 21. Even still, Buehrle logged 198.2 innings, with a 15-8 record and 3.81 ERA for Toronto.

Buehrle is a guy that has simply defied the three-true-outcomes pitching model (the idea that a pitcher’s true ability lay in the things he has full control over: walks, strikeouts, and home runs). Despite consistently low strikeout rates and Fielding Independent Pitching projections regularly over 4, he has won 214 games with an ERA+ 16% better than league average at 116.

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St. Louis native Mark Buehrle has said he will either retire, or pitch for the Cardinals. But, perhaps Dayton Moore could persuade him that Kansas City is close enough if the Cardinals decide to go in another direction.

Heck, Buehrle has executed his pitch-to-contact model in home parks prone to giving up gopher balls while pitching in Chicago’s Cellular Field and Toronto’s Rogers Centre. He might be even better in a big park like Kauffman with the best defense in baseball behind him.

Perhaps the Kansas City Royals could shuffle Mark Buehrle and Chris Young in and out of the rotation to keep their 37-year-old arms fresh. Hall-of-Fame pitcher Ted Lyons became a “Sunday Starter” late in his career and became even more effective in his last four years.

At 37, Buehrle is likely down to single year contracts. But, who knows. Maybe he’s Bartolo Colon and can succeed into his early 40’s.

Next: Henderson Alvarez