KC Royals: Making the case, Giants free agents

(Photo by Cody Glenn-USA TODAY Sports)
(Photo by Cody Glenn-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals
(Photo by Chris Brown-USA TODAY Sports) /

Among San Francisco free agent pitchers are a couple of starters the KC Royals might consider, but how serious their thoughts should be is another matter.

Unless you’re a Trevor Bauer, Masahiro Tanaka, Cole Hamels or Matt Shoemaker, there probably isn’t much work available as a starting pitcher in Kansas City. Nor is there much room left in the Royal bullpen for anyone who’s not an accomplished closer.

Had Mike Minor not signed last week, the KC Royals might have looked at righty Jeff Samardzija, a 13-year veteran who’s always good for a lot of innings, to complement starters Brad Keller, Danny Duffy, Brady Singer and Kris Bubic. He’s exceeded 200 innings five times and led the National League with 207.2 in 2017. But his 80-106 record belies the notion that he’s dominant, and his 33-45 record in five San Francisco seasons proves he wasn’t the answer the Giants were looking for when they signed him to his just-ended $90 million deal.

Although he stays in the strike zone and doesn’t walk many, the 35-year old Samardzija isn’t a starter, or long reliever, the Royals need.

Southpaw Tyler Anderson is also a Giant free agent who, like Samardzija, shouldn’t count the Royals among his suitors. He’s 22-27 and has a 4.65 ERA, although the latter number is, at least in part, a likely consequence of pitching three of his five major league seasons in Colorado for the Rockies. Anderson has decent control, but he’s not sufficiently remarkable to warrant much interest from KC.

Righthander Tyson Ross was released before the 2020 season started, then opted out of the campaign. But even had he pitched, the Royals probably wouldn’t be interested in another righty starter, especially one with a 44-70 record.

What about relievers? Because the KC Royals’ bullpen is so improved, the club is probably limiting its efforts there to secure the return of either Trevor Rosenthal or Greg Holland, so don’t expect it to show any interest in lefties Jerry Blevins and Tony Watson. Blevins owns a 30-13 record over 13 seasons; his best Royal role would be in long or middle relief, but the Royals probably won’t look for a 37-year old to fill that job when the pen is packed with talent. Watson was 1-0 with two saves and a 0.889 WHIP in 2020 but is entering his age-36 campaign. KC has younger options.