The Kansas City Royals are still considered to be looking for bullpen help. Would that help be in the form of another lefty for bullpen?
When the Kansas City Royals signed Joakim Soria earlier in the offseason, it allowed them to reestablilsh their Big Three in the bullpen. Greg Holland may no longer be a member of the team, but adding Soria to Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera should still give the Royals that late inning advantage they parleyed into a World Series title.
Yet, despite the expected dominance from this trio, the rest of the Royals bullpen may be considered unsettled. Luke Hochevar may be considered the most proven commodity in the relief core after the Big Three, but he is not a given. While Hochevar dominated in 2013, he did miss the following year due to Tommy John surgery. His 3.73 ERA and 1.283 WHiP were solid, and Hochevar should be better in his second year following the procedure, but he is still somewhat of an unknown.
The looming spectre of Tommy John surgery also extends to the left handed side of the bullpen. Currently, the lefties on the Royals depth chart are Tim Collins, Brian Flynn and Scott Alexander. Collins missed last season due to his own surgery, while Flynn and Alexander have a combined ten major league appearances between them. Flynn is also coming off a season ending injury last season, as he lasted for three batters in Omaha before suffering a torn lat muscle.
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Perhaps the wild card here is Danny Duffy. Likely to be battling Kris Medlen and Chris Young for one of the final two spots in the rotation, Duffy could be that power lefty reliever that the Royals lack if he is unable to hold on to his place as a starter. Although Duffy has only twelve games as a reliever, he has posted an excellent 1.08 ERA and a 0.840 WHiP, striking out 23 batters against five walks in 16.2 innings of work.
The problem facing the Royals is that the left handed relief market is thin. Unless they are willing to bring in pitchers the likes of Matt Thornton or can talk former Royals Jeremy Affledt out of retirement, there just is not much available. Unless the Royals consider bringing in a lefty on a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, their best bet to upgrade that position would be if one of the current options already on the roster can step forward.
The Kansas City Royals may want to further upgrade their bullpen, but there just is not much out there in free agency that would make sense. Barring a trade, the Royals appear destined to go into the 2016 season with the bullpen they presently have.