KC Royals News: Will Toronto deal impact Kansas City?

Another club’s signing of a top reliever might impact the KC Royals’ bullpen plans.

Some KC Royals Midweek musings while wondering what lefthanded power hitter General Manager Dayton Moore wants most:

Has Toronto made re-signing Rosenthal more difficult?

Kansas City fans who fondly remember “H-D-H”—the spectacular back-of-the-pen trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland that helped propel the Royals to two straight World Series appearances—probably dream about another such lockdown combination. Holland re-signed with the club last month after finishing up 2020 as its closer, while Herrera and Davis remain unsigned for 2021.

Don’t look for Dayton Moore to seriously pursue Herrera or Davis, but it’s difficult to believe he and his staff don’t have interest in bringing back Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal made himself a coveted trade deadline target with a superb July and August performance as the Royals’ closer last season, and didn’t allow a regular season unearned run after KC dealt him to the Padres.

That Rosenthal seems such a good fit for San Diego suggests he won’t come back to Kansas City, but the fact he’s still on the market means nothing is impossible.

What Toronto did late Tuesday may, however, render a Rosenthal return to the Royals more improbable. The Blue Jays reportedly signed former San Diego closer Kirby Yates, extinguishing any chance the Padres had to keep him.

It was a season-ending elbow injury to Yates last summer that created the Padres’ urgent need for another closer and spurred their interest in Rosenthal. Yates saved 12 games for the Padres in 2018, then led the majors in saves with 41 in 2019, when he improved his excellent 2.14 ERA of ’18 to 1.19.

Re-signing Yates would have been logical. Now, that logic applies to Rosenthal. The Padres would be ill-advised not to work hard to convince Rosenthal to re-up. If they get serious, Kansas City may not be able to keep up.

Old friend lands new job

It’s been almost five years since the KC Royals signed free agent Jose Martinez, who’d been kicking around the minors without much fanfare before Kansas City picked him up in January 2015. Martinez wasted no time opening eyes with the Royals, however, hitting .384 with 10 home runs in 90 Triple A games in 2015. Suddenly on the club’s big league radar, he was hitting .298 with a .356 OBP at Omaha when the club suddenly sold him to the Cardinals early in the next season to make room for Whit Merrifield on the 40-man roster.

Martinez made it to St. Louis later that season and hit .438 in 12 games, .309 with 14 homers in 106 contests in 2017, and .305 with 17 homers as a St. Louis regular in ’18 before dropping to 10 home runs and .269 in ’19. The Cards traded him to Tampa Bay last winter; a trade deadline deal landed him with the Cubs in late August. Martinez became a free agent after the short 2020 season.

He’ll move on to New York now—the Mets signed Martinez Thursday to a “split” deal with compensation based on whether he plays in the minors or makes it to Citi Field.

New KC Royals beat writer at mlb.com

The recent retirement of longtime Kansas City baseball writer Jeffrey Flanagan left mlb.com’s Royals beat vacant, but not for long. Anne Rogers, who’s been the site’s St. Louis writer, is heading across Missouri to cover the Royals.

Rogers began covering the Cardinals in 2019.

In case you missed it

Our David Scharff has been busy writing about Kansas City personnel moves. You can read his story about the reported signing of international prospect Daniel Vazquez here, and the new one-year deals for Adalberto Mondesi and Brad Keller here.

I wrote about bullpen prospect Peyton Gray here and identified three Royals other teams may target at the 2021 midsummer trade deadline here.

That’s all for now. We’ll be back next Wednesday with another Royals midweek news roundup. Until then, stay safe and healthy.