Kansas City Royals: Reflecting on Loss of Yordano Ventura
The beat went on. Life did not slow, despite a whole town living in grief. It is pure speculation to believe that Moore did or did not carry out the rest of the offseason in a reactionary mode. Perhaps the signings of Travis Wood and Jason Hammel were as a result of the loss of Yordano. Or maybe Moore had already felt that the club needed additional help in the bullpen and the back-end of the rotation. For the sake of speculation, here is a look at every pitcher the Kansas City Royals acquired or moved, that may in some way be traced back to the loss of Yordano.
Jason Hammel — The Kansas City Royals picked up Hammel in the first week of February. The back-loaded contract guaranteed him $16 million over two seasons. Hammel will earn $9 million of that in the 2018 season. It will be interesting to see whether or not the Royals pick up his mutual option for 2019. If they do, they will owe him an additional $12 million. If they fail to, as most assume, Hammel will be granted a $2 million buyout. Additionally, with the emergence of Jake Junis, the return of Nate Karns and the likely departure of many key players, it is safe to assume that the Royals would not have committed this type of money towards starting pitching depth in 2018 if Ventura was still around.
Travis Wood — A week after the signing of Hammel, the team acquired Wood. Of course, the team back-loaded his contract, too. He was traded midway through the 2017 season with Matt Strahm and prospect Esteury Ruiz for Trevor Cahill, Ryan Buchter and Brandon Maurer. Although he now dons the Padre colors, the Royals still owe Wood $6.5 million in 2018. San Diego then faces a decision on letting Wood walk or picking up his option. After next season, Wood will be off our books.
Matt Strahm — Some say that with Ventura on the roster, the trade to San Diego would not have happened. Speculation says that Junis would have filled a bullpen role. However, this assumes Ventura would have had a perfectly healthy season. Additionally, with Strahm missing the majority of 2017 in Triple-A Omaha and to injury, he very well could have been the piece to move in another trade, even if it wouldn’t have been for starting pitching. I think Strahm swaps clubs last season with or without Ventura.
Ryan Buchter — Compared to the rest of the market, Buchter is actually rather cheap. His base salary was $545,000 in 2017, and he is not eligible for arbitration until the end of next season. Given his 2.85 ERA in his short career—and the fact that the Royals have him under team control through 2021—Buchter poses great value. Even if Ventura was still with the team, Buchter would be a welcomed addition.
Brandon Maurer — Kansas City Royals fans are not shy about their opinions on Maurer, as he did pose an 8.10 ERA as a Royal in 2017. He has just over four years of major league service time, so he is under team control for two more seasons. He will be undergoing arbitration this offseason, as well as next. His base salary of $1.9 million surely won’t grow by much, if any, at least for 2018. I will budget on the high end and say the Royals will pay Maurer a total of $6 million over the next two seasons.
Trevor Cahill — Cahill will be a free agent this offseason and will not be on the books going forward.