Checking rumors about top free agents who are former Kansas City Royals

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Closer Greg Hollnd
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Closer Greg Hollnd /

The Kansas City Royals had some of the top free agents in baseball on their roster in 2017. They also had some of the other best ones on previous rosters.

When the Kansas City Royals were making their historic 2014 run to the World Series, nobody was thinking about the 2017-18 offseason. Looking back on that great team, though, you will find some of the top free agents on the market this winter. Based on where you look, as many as five of the players rank among the 10 best available.

Several of those players remained with the Kansas City Royals during that span from the 2014 World Series to this offseason. Others spent this past season elsewhere. We’ve spent a lot of timing looking at potential landing spots for the former group. Now, we’ll take some time to explore the rumors surrounding the latter group.

Wade Davis

A former Kansas City Royals closer, Wade Davis threw the final pitch of the 2015 season, striking out Wilmer Flores to end the World Series. Last winter, Dayton Moore traded Davis to the Chicago Cubs for Jorge Soler. While his impact on the 2017 season is debatable, there’s no denying he made a difference for Chicago. His NLDS performance, particularly in Game 5, carried the Cubs into the next round.

Like Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain, Davis rejected a $17.4 million qualifying offer. It makes him a free agent and a highly sought-after one. Many consider Davis to be the best closer available. As far as pitchers go, he might be third-best behind Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta.

So where could he end up? He could return to the Cubs. According to the Chicago Tribune, the team will engage in talks, but Theo Epstein’s quotes suggest it will be a futile effort. Ryan Davis of FanRag Sports lists the Cubs, Cardinals and Astros as Wade Davis’ most likely landing spots. For the record, MLB Trade Rumors predicted the 32-year-old will ink a four-year, $60 million deal with Houston.

Greg Holland

One of the heroes of that 2014 season, Greg Holland suffered a UCL injury the following year. The resulting Tommy John surgery forced him to miss the rest of the season. He opted against signing prior to the 2016 season, sitting out and landing a deal with Colorado last winter. Like the others, Holland rejected his qualifying offer, after also rejecting a $15 million option, hoping to cash in on a season that saw him win Comeback Player of the Year.

FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman said the Rockies could retain him. MLB Trade Rumors has Holland filling the Cardinals’ closer need. They have him signing for four years and $50 million. For what it’s worth, USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale confirmed St. Louis’ interest:

Jarrod Dyson

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While Davis and Holland are clearly the preeminent former Kansas City Royals on the market, Jarrod Dyson should do well for himself this winter. After being traded last offseason for Nate Karns, Dyson got his first real chance to play as a consistent starter. An injury ended his season early, but he shouldn’t struggle to find employment.

Some feel Dyson would be an excellent replacement for Cain in Kauffman Stadium’s center field. He would seem likely to welcome a return to Kansas City. That said, there will be plenty of team’s in the market for a fourth/platoon outfielder, especially one who could provide late-inning speed on the bases and in the field. Dyson checks those boxes even at 33 years of age.

MLB Trade Rumors suggest he would wind up with a two-year, $12 million deal from Pittsburgh. But there are innumerable teams that could use his services. He won’t earn as much as Davis or Holland, but Dyson should have even more options than his former teammates.

Next: Top pitching seasons in Royals history

What do you think? Where do you see the former Royals ending up? Will any come back to KC? Let us know your thoughts.