The KC Royals have signed one Cleveland free agent this offseason. Do the Indians have any more who could help?
The KC Royals, an uncharacteristically active club this offseason, signed Cleveland free agent Carlos Santana last month in a move designed to finally fill the first base vacancy Eric Hosmer’s departure created three years ago. Now, with little more than a month left before the Royals open spring camp, is there any other help they could find among the Indians’ free agents?
Seven of Cleveland’s original 10 free agents remain on the market—only Santana, one of the best of the bunch, and backup catcher Sandy Leon have signed with other major league clubs, Santana with Kansas City and Leon with Miami, and veteran reliever David Hernandez signed (select translate option) with the Mexican League’s Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos. Reliever Brand Hand and outfielder Yasiel Puig are the biggest of the seven names left.
Hand and Santana made news together in late October when Cleveland slashed payroll by declining its options on both stars. Don’t look for Kansas City to add to its own payroll by signing Hand who, as one of the game’s leading closers, will probably command more money than the Royals should pay. They already have Greg Holland, a cheaper Trevor Rosenthal remains unsigned, and Josh Staumont and Scott Barlow have closer potential.
After Puig (more on the ex-Dodger later), there may be a handful of Indians who could help the Royals. Not in that category, however, are reliever Oliver Perez who, entering his 19th and age-40 season, presents a skill set much younger Royals already have, and utility man Mike Freeman’s light bat and lack of power disqualify him from being the lefthanded power hitter the Royals still seek.
That leaves four Cleveland free agents for the Royals to consider.