KC Royals lefty reliever Brian Flynn will start against the Cleveland Indians Tuesday night, in a critical series for the Royals. Flynn’s performance could affect the Kansas City Royals decision-making as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches.
The fact is, the bottom of the KC Royals rotation has been a disaster area this season. Chris Young opened the season in the role, and compiled a horrendous 6.90 ERA in 13 starts. Long reliever Dillon Gee has stepped in to make five starts, but hasn’t been much better with a 5.87 ERA while lasting only 23.0 innings as a member of the rotation.
The Kansas City Royals acquired Flynn from the Florida Marlins before the 2015 season in exchange for reliever Aaron Crow. Crow promptly tore his ulnar collateral ligament and never appeared in a game for the Marlins. He’s now in the Cubs organization.
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Meanwhile, Flynn pitched a mere 2/3 of an inning with AAA Omaha in 2015 while missing most of the season with a lat injury (shoulder). However, Flynn has proved useful as a member of the KC Royals bullpen after getting the call to KC in May.
The big (6’7″ 240 lbs) lefty has an impressive 2.39 ERA in 13 games (26.1 IP) as a reliever for the Kansas City Royals in 2016. He’s striking out 8.5 batters per every nine innings while walking only 2.7 per nine. However, Flynn has been a starter for most of his minor-league career, including this spring in Omaha where he opened for games for the Stormchasers (3.04 ERA).
If Flynn makes a strong showing in a couple of starts before the August 1 trade deadline, he could convince the front office to hope they can get by with their current rotation. Given the reported high prices that teams are demanding for starting pitching on the trade market, such an outcome wouldn’t be at all surprising. Then KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore could justify focusing his efforts on balancing out his lineup by adding a veteran power bat (Carlos Beltran, Jay Bruce, or Josh Reddick).
If Flynn busts in his rotation trial, then Moore might nave no choice but to bite the bullet and pay the price for pitching help. This is presuming, of course, that the Kansas City Royals don’t crash over the next 12 days or so and put themselves out of the race.
Whichever way it goes, Brian Flynn’s start Tuesday night should be rather interesting given the broader implications.