KC Royals: 4 players the club shouldn’t pursue for 2021

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

The KC Royals are trying out a famous former opponent. It’s an effort best abandoned.

There will never be a “Matt Harvey Era” in Kansas City, nor should there be. Harvey, another in the long line of struggling pitchers KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore has tried to rescue and salvage, shows no real signs of recapturing the excellence that made him a star with the Mets.

Harvey’s late-July signing with the Royals was ironic. It was Harvey, after all, who figured so prominently in the Mets’ journey to the 2015 World Series, and almost saved New York from elimination by KC in the Series’ final game. He’d shut Kansas City down through eight innings when he convinced manager Terry Collins to let him finish what he started and then, pitching with a 2-0 lead, walked leadoff batter Lorenzo Cain, who stole second and scored on Eric Hosmer’s double. It was only then that Collins pulled Harvey for Jeurys Familia; the rest is history.

Harvey hasn’t been the same since, making his signing curious from the start even without the irony. He’s suffered injuries, a 7-7 2018 with the Reds is his best post-2015 season, and he was 3-5 with a 7.09 ERA for the Angels last year. A free agent, Harvey was an easy sign when the Royals came calling. Jeffrey Flanagan, mlb.com’s Royals beat writer, suggested the club added him more for 2021 than 2020:

Flanagan subsequently suggested KC might have had designs on Harvey for this season:

Harvey ended up in KC in mid-August, but the little he’s done commends a long stay. He’s 0-3 with an 11.45 ERA. He has one scoreless appearance among six, gave up five runs in a 1.1 inning appearance, four in 2.2 innings on another occasion, and three in three frames in another. His WHIP is 2.636.

The fact he’s pitching on a one-year deal makes Harvey’s situation much like Kennedy’s: his current Royals relationship ends with the season, but he’s the kind of pitcher to whom the club might gravitate—only an overhaul will make him good again and he’ll be inexpensive. And the earlier conjecture that KC was more interested in rebuilding Harvey for 2021 than for this season suggests Moore could still be interested.

But as in Kennedy’s case, the Royals have little room for Harvey…if any. KC is well-stocked with pitching talent. And if they’re looking for a veteran mentor for their young staff, Greg Holland fits the bill, as reported by announcer Joel Goldberg:

Kansas City should move on from Matt Harvey. The space his departure will create is valuable elsewhere.