Kansas City Royals: Team adds several players on Rule 5 draft day


The Kansas City Royals didn’t make any selections in the major-league portion of the Rule 5 draft. However, the team still ended up adding plenty of talent.

Despite not selecting anyone, the Kansas City Royals wound up with two of the top players eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft. The organization also signed a pair of guys to minor-league deals, while also selecting someone in the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 draft.

Needless to say, it was a busy final day of the Winter Meetings for a club that had been quiet aside from trade rumors. Here’s how it all went down.

Major-league level Rule 5 draft

With two open spots on the 40-man roster, it always seemed likely the Kansas City Royals would add at least one and likely two players in the Rule 5 draft. The catch with Rule 5 selections is that they must remain on the 25-man roster — not just the 40-man roster — for the entire next season. Given the current trajectory for 2018, the growing pains associated with such moves would be worth it.

It’s somewhat funny then that the Kansas City Royals didn’t draft a player on Thursday morning. Instead, the team traded for two of the players chosen inside the top 10. Joining the club for the 2018 season will be Brad Keller and Burch Smith — a pair of right-handed pitchers. Both have already been placed inside the organization’s top 30 prospects with Keller at No. 26 and Smith at No. 30, according to MLB.com.

The Reds chose Keller fifth overall from the Diamondbacks’ system. The 22-year-old failed to impress at the Double-A level last season, but Keller clearly has plenty of time to improve. Smith, on the other hand, joins the club as a 27-year-old. The Mets chose him directly after Keller came off the board. After missing 2015-16 with Tommy John surgery, Smith was able to pitch this past season in the Rays’ system and in the Arizona Fall League.

What did it cost them?

According to Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, even though Kansas City didn’t select them directly, the 25-man roster rule still applies to Keller and Smith. The Royals Twitter account announced the moves, including mentioning compensation would include cash or a player to be named later:

Minor-league level Rule 5 draft

After not selecting anyone in the MLB portion of the draft, the Kansas City Royals picked Daniel Duarte — yet another right-hander — from the Rangers’ system in the Triple-A phase. The Royals announced the move on Twitter:

As you can see by those stats, Duarte pitched really well in 2017. At just 21 years of age, Duarte represents another young, controllable arm. With the potential ramifications of a rebuild unknown, he could be given a chance to pitch in Kansas City in the not-so-distant future.

The club also lost a pair of prospects in the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 draft. Pitcher Andy Ferguson and infielder Wander Franco were chosen by Boston and Houston, respectively.

Other minor-league signings

After getting all the Rule 5 craziness squared away, the Kansas City Royals refused to sit back quietly. Instead, the franchise pounced on a pair of minor league free agents. The organization signed another right-handed pitcher in Michael Broadway, as well as utility man Cody Asche. Kansas City confirmed the signings on their Twitter account:

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Broadway, 30, pitched most recently with the Durham Bulls — the Triple-A affiliate of the Rays. His only time in the majors came in two brief stints for the Giants one each during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. In his professional career, Broadway has thrown over 600 innings with 580 1/3 coming in the minor leagues.

Asche, who was born in St. Charles, Missouri, and attended Nebraska, comes over from division rival Chicago. The 27-year-old played 371 games with the Phillies before joining the White Sox prior to the 2017 season. He started the year in the majors and played 19 games. However, a majority of his campaign occurred in Charlotte where he hit .292/.392/.495 over 87 games.

The flurry of moves — more than anything whispered about over the previous few days — show how committed the Kansas City Royals are to rebuilding. The extent of the rebuild is still unknown. A full teardown would certainly happen if general manager Dayton Moore can get good value for his trade pieces. But after getting a taste of champagne, will fans settle for sparkling cider?

Next: Best offensive seasons in Royals history

What do you think? Will Keller or Smith pan out? How much upside does Duarte have? Let us know your thoughts.