KC Royals: Making the case, Angels and Orioles free agents

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

A long-time National League starting pitcher might be worth some consideration from the KC Royals.

Julio Teheran didn’t win a game for the Los Angeles Angels in 2020. He gave up 35 runs in 31.1 innings, which isn’t impressive at any level of professional baseball, much less the big leagues. His ERA was astronomical (10.05) and his ERA+ unsightly (45).

But that doesn’t necessarily mean the KC Royals should ignore him.

It’s hard to believe the time Teheran missed after testing positive for COVID-19 didn’t impact his pitching. He was symptomatic and didn’t pitch until Aug. 5 and, although he made 10 appearances (all but one a start), he averaged just a shade over three innings per game.

But 0-4, even in a short season, is atypical for Teheran. His worst season before last was the 7-10 campaign he had with the Braves in 2016 (he still made the National League All-Star team for the second time); he’s won 14 games twice, 11 games twice and 10 games once over his 10 year career.

Teheran pitched nine seasons, started 226 games and exceeded 175 innings six times for Atlanta before signing a one-year deal with the Angels last year. So he can put in the work. Even if 2020 was a one-off for him, there’s still room for concern: a hurler with good control through 2016, he’s suffered increased walk rates since—3.4 BB9 in 2017, 4.3 in both 2018 and ’19, and 4.6 last season.

Could Teheran, who’ll be 30 in January, be a candidate to bring his eclectic repertoire (fastball, slider, change, curve and sinker—he can also throw a screwball) to Kansas City? The Royals might want to at least take a look because they need another starter who’s been around, one who can give them a lot of meaningful innings. But, if they’re interested and he reciprocates, the club shouldn’t break the bank with him. General manager Dayton Moore knows how to sign pitchers to inexpensive short-term contracts.

Shortstop Andrelton Simmons is the Angels’ other free agent. A teammate of Teheran’s for a time in Atlanta, Simmons has given the Angels five serviceable seasons; he’s slashed .281/.328/.304 with better than league average glove work. And at 32, Simmons probably has a few years left.

But none of those years should, or really could, be spent with the Royals. Simmons certainly isn’t going to supplant Adalberto Mondesi at shortstop and nothing in his career suggests he’s versatile enough to play third or second; indeed, other than two games at DH, he’s played all his big league games at short. He’s a decent player but doesn’t fit any of the Royals’ needs.