Two veterans probably don’t fit any of the KC Royals’ needs for 2021.
Veteran major leaguer AJ Ramos is a journeyman of sorts, having pitched for the Marlins and Mets before landing briefly with Colorado in 2020. Because he’s relieved exclusively during his eight years in the big leagues, his 17-18 record isn’t particularly revealing.
But his control is. Ramos averages five walks per nine innings and hasn’t been below 5.0 BB9 since posting 4.9 in 2016. The other side of the Ramos coin, though, is his ability to strike out hitters—his career SO9 is 10.4 and he dipped below 10.0 in a full season only once (9.7 in 2013).
Ramos, however, is too big a risk for the Royals. He injured his shoulder in 2018, didn’t pitch in 2019, and bounced from the Dodger organization to the Cubs’ system without making it to the majors until Colorado signed him in September. He pitched three times, walking three and giving up four hits in 2.2 innings.
Ramos won’t fit the Royal bill for a pinch of veteran pitching. Kansas City doesn’t have room for a 34-year old reliever whose career may be winding down.
Is Daniel Murphy, a World Series opponent of the Royals while with the Mets in 2015, a solution to any Kansas City problem? Maybe, but probably not as an everyday player. He’s primarily a first baseman now and Hunter Dozier appears well-set there, but he can play almost anywhere in the infield and outfield and his career .296 average and .341 OBP suggest he could be a reliable left-handed bat off the bench.
Murphy’s downside is his age; he’ll be 36 in April. But his tires just might be worth a kick. It doesn’t hurt to talk. Perhaps he’d be a good veteran presence for a season or two as the Royals emerge from their rebuild. But he’d have to come cheap.
Of Colorado’s seven free agents, Kevin Pillar and Daniel Murphy might be worth looks for the short term and right price.