KC Royals: Making the case, Blue Jays free agents

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals
(Photo by David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports) /

If the KC Royals aren’t done searching for rotation help, two Toronto free agents could be worth a look.

The KC Royals’ signing of Mike Minor didn’t necessarily take Matt Shoemaker off their radar, but two other Blue Jays are more likely to draw Kansas City’s eye if they want to add insurance in case they find an irresistible offer for Danny Duffy, who’s entering the final year of his contract, or he winds up in the bullpen.

The first is Taijuan Walker who, at only 28, is already an eight-year big league veteran. He’s 35-34 with a 3.84 ERA, and was 2-1 with a 1.37 ERA in 2020, his first campaign back after pitching only once in 2019 following Tommy John surgery the year before.

Walker posted those latest numbers in only six appearances, but they suggest he can still pitch. A first round pick of Seattle in the 2010 amateur draft, Walker made it to the majors in 2013 and his best season was 2015 (11-8, 4.56 ERA). He’s been throwing a four-seamer, curve, splitter, slider and sinker.

Walker has been linked to the Tigers.

Chase Anderson is another righty starter. He was 15-13, 4.18 in two seasons with Arizona and 38-2, 3.83 in four with Milwaukee before joining the Jays in 2020. He started seven of his 10 games and went 1-2 with a 7.22 ERA, but averaged at least 10 strikeouts per nine innings (10.2) for the first time in his seven-year career.

Anderson is a serviceable starting pitcher, but his 2020 ERA, 6.16 FIP and 61 ERA+ are obvious causes for concern.

The Royals should only consider Walker or Anderson if Duffy’s status is doubtful.