In my opinion, Jakob Junis is the first “could-be” starter the Royals have. However, after the way he ended the 2017 season, he is fluttering with being a guaranteed starter. After the All-Star Break, Junis had 10 starts where he posted a 3.15 ERA and a 6-1 record. With his growing confidence, the Royals potentially have a young and cheap rotation arm for years to come.
… the Royals potentially have a young and cheap rotation arm for years to come.
If the Royals wanted to try again, they could plug in Nate Karns. Karns had a great start to the season last year before having a season ending injury in May. Over his eight starts he posted a 3.54 ERA and a 2-2 record.
However, due to his history of injuries, he might find himself throwing from the bullpen instead of starting.
Sam Gaviglio is another option. Royals picked up Gaviglio off waivers from the Seattle Mariners in July. He made two starts for the Royals were he surrendered three runs over 10 innings (2.70 ERA). His 4.36 ERA last year is misleading. With the exclusion of July, Gaviglio posted a 3.39 ERA over 10 starts. If the Royals wanted, during the rebuild they could test run Gaviglio as the teams fifth starter.