The KC Royals signed pitcher Brian Duensing, infielder Clint Barmes, and outfielder Travis Snider to minor league deals on Friday (April Fool’s Day).
The Kansas City Royals front office released Duensing and Barmes on March 28, and Snider on March 30—mostly to avoid paying a $100,000 retention bonus to all three players. The KC Royals also released 37-year-old veteran reliever Peter Moylan on March 28, and resigned him to a minor league deal on March 30.
The 33-year-old Brian Duensing, 37-year-old Clint Barmes, and 28-year-old Travis Snider now become emergency veteran depth at AAA Omaha along with Moylan.
Duensing is a seven year veteran who has spent his major league career with Central Division rival Twins. The lefty provides an experienced southpaw arm that can fill in with the KC Royals bullpen. Meanwhile, Clint Barmes is a utility infielder with a good defensive reputation but weak bat (career .245/.294/.379 triple slash). He’s played the bulk of his career at second and short, with occasional appearances at first, third, and the outfield. Snider is a corner outfield that brings power from the right side as a bench bat.
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Peter Moylan is a Tommy John survivor who has pitched the bulk of his career in Atlanta, with a brief stop with the Dodgers in 2013. Moylan has not pitched significant innings in major league baseball since logging 63.2 frames for the Braves in 2010. Moylan did pitch 10.1 innings for the Braves in 2015 with a 3.48 ERA and 8 strikeouts. Since 2010, the western Australian native hung on as a minor league depth piece for the Braves and Dodgers. Apparently, he’ll fill the same role with the Kansas City Royals in 2016.
Ever since the KC Royals hit contender status in 2014, general manager Dayton Moore has loaded up on more emergency veteran depth at AAA Omaha. Last season, that depth played a vital role in keeping the Kansas City Royals early season momentum going when injuries hit three starting pitchers. Veteran starters Chris Young and Joe Blanton stepped in to fill the gap, compiling a combined 2.8 Wins Above Replacement (bWAR) in 2015.
Young, in particular, was a revelation contributing an 11-6, 3.06 ERA season while eating up 123.1 iinnings. Chris Young also came out of the pen to earn the win in the KC Royals 13 inning marathon in game 1 of the World Series. Blanton added two strong starts to earn wins in May, along with some solid relief appearances before finishing the season in Pittsburgh after a deadline deal.
The Royals earned the top seed in the AL by two games over the Toronto Blue Jays. Who knows what would have happened if Toronto had the home field advantage in the ALCS instead of Kansas City?
No one expects that Brian Duensing, Peter Moylan, Clint Barmes, or Travis Snider to play a large role with the Kansas City Royals in 2016. However, they could help win a couple of games that might yield an important edge come October.