KC Royals: Making the case, Atlanta Braves free agents
By Shawn Bauman
The KC Royals seem fairly solid in the bullpen but could another reliever or starter still be a possibility?
Cole Hamels had solid seasons in Philadelphia and a couple after signing with the Texas Rangers. His last few years have not been nearly as good as when he was in his prime.
He turns 37 in December and questions about his durability should be carefully looked at. He only pitched three innings this year and started just 12 games in 2018. With a WHIP the last three full seasons he pitched of 1.39, 1.10, and 1.37 it is a gamble to think he would be a wise grab.
Spotrac believes his fair market value is around $4 million which would seem Royal-friendly. The smart play would be to pass on his services or sign to a minor league deal with an invite to big league spring training.
Several relievers will be available
The Braves do not lack quality arms who have plenty of major league experience and whose contracts have expired. One of those is Shane Greene who Kansas City fans will recall from his days as a pitcher with the Detroit Tigers.
Greene performed very well in 2020, so much so that it is believed he could fetch $7 million on the open market. That seems high with the state of finances in baseball; no one was willing to pay $10 million to snatch up Brad Hand after he was put on waivers by the Cleveland Indians.
With the bullpen being the brightest spot of the Royals this year, spending that much on a middle reliever does not make sense.
Mark Melancon was once one of the best closers in the National League while with the Pittsburgh Pirates. While his output has decreased over time, his two years with the Braves were better than the prior four seasons. Middle relief would also be his best fit and heading into his age 36 season, if Kansas City could get him for a song and dance it would be worth exploring.