The rest of the Mariners’ free agents carry some risk for the KC Royals.
What about the four remaining Seattle free agents? There isn’t much in the group and any would be chances the KC Royals shouldn’t take.
Carlos Gonzalez is a 12-year major league veteran outfielder who found Colorado’s Coors Field well-suited to his power. He spent 10 seasons with the Rockies and slugged 20 or more home runs six times, including 40 in 2015 and 34 in 2010; 227 of his career 234 homers were hit with the Rox.
Although Gonzalez is a three-time All-Star and has won three Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers, he hasn’t done much since leaving Colorado after the 2018 campaign. He’s managed just three homers since and hit .215 in 30 games for Cleveland and .175 in 15 for the Cubs in 2019. He signed with the M’s for 2020 but didn’t even make it to summer camp. Clearly on the downside of an otherwise stellar career, Gonzalez wouldn’t fit well in a Royal outfield teeming with young talent.
Bryan Shaw is another former Colorado player who the KC Royals shouldn’t consider. In six games with Seattle in 2020, he surrendered 12 earned runs in six innings, which isn’t surprising considering his 2018 and 2019 ERAs—5.93 and 5.38—with the Rockies. And his control has been inconsistent in his 10 big league seasons. If Kansas City wants another right-handed reliever, Carl Edwards Jr. would be a much better choice.
Yoshihisa Hirano is another right-hander the KC bullpen doesn’t need. Although he has several years of professional experience (mostly in Japan, with three seasons in the United States), and he averages just decimal points below a strikeout per inning, he gave up too many walks (eight) and hits (18) in the 12.1 innings he pitched for the Mariners in 2020. A positive COVID-19 test forced him out part of Seattle’s summer camp and he wasn’t activated until Aug. 21, which probably contributed to his disappointing stats.
What cuts more against Hirano, however, is the fact he’ll be 37 in March. Kansas City needs younger hurlers.
While the Royals might need a left-hander in the bullpen, Nestor Cortes Jr. isn’t the southpaw of choice. Simply put, he gives up too many runs, an unfortunate fact his three-year career 6.72 ERA proves. Surrendering 59 earned runs in 79 big league innings isn’t good and he was battered for 13 in just 7.2 frames for the Mariners in 2020.
One Seattle free agent stands out as a good choice for Kansas City. The Royals should talk to Dee Strange-Gordon.