A backup catcher and two relievers round out the Toronto free agents.
The last seven seasons have blessed the KC Royals with good backup catchers. Drew Butera, Brett Hayes and Erik Kratz and, more recently, Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria, have all filled in well for Salvador Perez when he required rest or recovered from injuries.
But with only occasional, primarily game specific exceptions, the strength of these backstop has been defense; although Butera hit a surprising .285 in 2016, none have consistently offered much at the plate. The bulk of the backup work now belongs to Gallagher and Viloria, and they own respective career averages of .241 and .215; Gallagher has six homers, Viloria one.
And while it’s true backup catchers are paid more to catch than they are to hit, Kansas City could use a little more offense from their backup backstops. Could Toronto free agent catcher Caleb Joseph help?
Probably not enough. As his 11 homers in 2015 and eight in 2017 demonstrate, Joseph has a bit more power than either Gallagher or Viloria, but his seven-year .222/.270/.351 slash suggests he wouldn’t be the upgrade that might tempt the Royals to replace either current backup.
The last two Blue Jay free agents are righty relievers Ken Giles, a power pitcher with a seven-year 2.74 ERA and 115 saves, and Anthony Bass, a nine-year veteran. Giles underwent Tommy John surgery in September and Bass has an unremarkable 9-16, 4.32 career record, although he saved seven games in 2020. Especially with their vastly improved bullpen, the Royals don’t need to sign and pay a pitcher who probably won’t pitch until 2022, or another who won’t add much, if anything, to the mix.
Toronto has eight free agents. None are “must haves” for the KC Royals.