The KC Royals are earning good midwinter grades

(Photo by Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)
(Photo by Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals
(Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports) /

An old friend completes the KC Royals’ starting rotation for the 2021 season.

It’s been almost five years since Mike Minor, a steady starting pitcher for five seasons with the Atlanta Braves, signed a two-year free agent deal to pitch for Kansas City. It was a risky move for the Royals—shoulder issues forced Minor out of the entire 2015 season—but he’d won 38 games for the Braves and had decent control.

Minor spent the 2015 campaign building himself back up in the minor leagues, then became a key fixture in the KC Royals’ bullpen in ’16. Although he’d pitched only two games in relief before, he posted a 2.55 ERA in 65 appearances with a1.017 WHIP and 10.2 SO9. He moved on to Texas after the season and won 12 games for the Rangers in 2018, then 14 in ’19. He was only 1-6 in 12 starts for Texas and Oakland last year, but it’s hard to rely on 2020 for future projections.

The Royals fulfilled their goal to find a veteran starter when they signed Minor in December. Barring something unforeseen, Minor won’t find himself in the Kansas City bullpen—his years in Texas reestablished him as a starter and, at age 33 and entering his 10th major league season, Minor, whose deal covers two years with a club option for a third, fills the bill as the veteran mentor the club needs for the talented young starters already on the big league roster, and those whose arrivals are imminent.

And Minor’s acquisition could soon become even more important. Fellow lefthander and veteran rotation member Danny Duffy is entering the final year of his current KC contract, making him a possible trade deadline target and, in any event, a free agent when the campaign ends.

Minor, then, has good upside. Give the Royals a “B+” for the signing.

Next. Why Kyle Schwarber wasn't KC's answer. dark

The KC Royals deserve good grades for the four major deals they’ve swung so far this winter. Let’s hope their final grades are as just as good.