Royals: Team must look at Alex Wood for rotation bolster

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Kansas City Royals need a solid, veteran arm to improve a rotation that was sixth from last in ERA+ during the 2019 season.

Before I go into detail about why Alex Wood would be a good fit for the Kansas City Royals, I do want to state that I believe the group of young pitchers coming up through the minors will be a major factor in the turn around in the next couple of years. Until we get there, however, I feel the club can use some veterans so that the Royals can stop the 100 loss seasons.

A three or four-year contract would be an appropriate length for Wood to see if he can return to his All-Star form and be a veteran player the young staff can lean on. He will be 29 years old next season so there are plenty of good years left in Wood’s arm.

He is not as glamorous of a name as Gerrit Cole, Madison Bumgarner, or Stephen Strasburg, but he does have an impressive resume.  He also possesses a particularly wicked knuckle curveball.

His first two and a half seasons with the Atlanta Braves produced ERA+ of 120, 128 and 108, respectively. He finished the 2014 year ranked tenth in the National League in ERA at 2.78 and also in the same position in the strikeouts per 9 IP category with 8.91.

Traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the middle of the 2015 season led to a disappointing drop in production to close out that year. He improved in 2016 but was a dealt a blow with a season-ending elbow injury.

What a rebound 2017 was, as Wood went 16-3, led the majors in winning percentage, finished fourth in NL wins, was an All-Star selection, and finished 9th in Cy Young voting.  He walked only 2.2 batters per inning, the lowest of his career and produced a Runs Above Replacement of 34, a personal best.

The next season saw a bit of a drop-off and was also the end of his tenure with the Dodgers as they traded him in the offseason to the Cincinnati Reds in a big deal that included Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, and future Royal pitcher Homer Bailey switching teams. The injury bug bit him again as back spasms put him on the shelf during spring training and Wood ended up only making seven unremarkable starts for 2019.

The upside for the Kansas City Royals is a pitcher who has multiple seasons of quality production, after making $9.65 million with the Reds last year he would be pocketbook-friendly, and if Kansas City’s minor league pitchers are ready sooner than anticipated he could lead them or be a nice trade piece.

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There is some concern with two of the last four years interrupted with injuries, but a healthy Alex Wood would be a much-needed improvement over many of the Royals who took the mound at times in 2019.