Last season, the Kansas City Royals signed Kris Medlen to a two year contract with the knowledge that he will not contribute in the first part of the season. Could Mike Minor turn into another Medlen for the Royals, helping to bolster a postseason run?
Last season, when the Kansas City Royals signed Kris Medlen to a two year contract, there was a great deal of risk involved. Yes, when healthy, Medlen had proven to be a solid pitcher, posting a career 2.95 ERA and a 1.155 WHiP through 2013, but that was the question. Coming off his second Tommy John surgery, would Medlen be the same type of pitcher he had been in years past?
Medlen proved to be a solid addition to the pitching staff in the second half. Essentially another trade deadline acquisition, Medlen posted a solid 6-2 record with a 4.01 ERA and a 1.269 WHiP while still displaying his solid command. Now, another year removed from surgery, Medlen should be able to get closer to the pitcher he had been.
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The Kansas City Royals are hoping for the same sort of result with Mike Minor. Much like Medlen last season, the Royals are signed Minor after he missed the entire previous season, with a shoulder injury that required surgery. This was the same shoulder that caused Minor to go on three separate stints on the disabled list in 2014, and had been problematic throughout his career.
Now that his labrum is healthy, the hope is that Minor will be ready to pitch shortly after the beginning of the season. While Dayton Moore gave a timeline of six weeks to two months, they may prove to be more patient with Minor, especially given the second year on his contract. With rehab, and a cautious approach, Minor may not appear for the Royals until late May or early June.
The Royals can also afford to be patient, given their pitching depth. With the battles for the final two spots in their rotation, the Royals are in quite the enviable position when it comes to taking on rehabbing pitchers like Minor. They do not need to rush him back, and can make certain that he is truly healthy before putting him out on the mound, either in the minors or in Kansas City.
If everything goes according to plan, Mike Minor will be another Kris Medlen signing for the Kansas City Royals. If Minor can provide close to the same production they got from Medlen last year, he may prove to be worth the investment.