KC Royals: Making the case, 9 Rangers free agents
A couple of well-established veterans don’t give the KC Royals much to think about.
Texas free agent Edinson Volquez’s positive place in Kansas City baseball history is secure. The Royals desperately needed a starter when it became clear they couldn’t hold on to James Shields after the 2014 season; Volquez, like Shields a free agent, filled Shields’ shoes by going 13-9 as KC won the 2015 American League pennant. Then, with his father’s death earlier that day unknown to him, he beat the Mets in the World Series opener and pitched six stellar innings in the Royals’ Series clincher.
Volquez went 10-11 in 2016 before free agency led him to the Marlins after the season. Tommy John surgery ended his disappointing 4-8 2017 campaign and he spent all of 2018 rehabilitating. Two seasons with the Rangers, primarily as a reliever, didn’t go well—he went 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in 2019 and 2-1, 6.35 in ’20.
Perhaps Volquez just isn’t the same after surgery, or maybe time caught up with him. Next season will be his 16th and he’ll turn 38 in July. Whatever the cause, Volquez’s decline, age and the KC Royals’ collection of good present and future starters make him an unlikely candidate to rejoin the club.
Shin-Soo Choo, who’s made the Texas outfield his home for the past seven seasons, is available, but probably won’t end Kansas City’s search for a lefthanded power hitter. Although he’s hit the 20 home run mark seven times, and clubbed 67 from 2017-19, and his career .377 OBP is attractive, Choo will join Volquez as a 39-year old in July. And, like Volquez, he’s showing signs of decline: his 2020 average (.236) dropped below .250 for the first time since 2016 and he last came close to his career .275 in 2015 (.276). Choo may not have enough years left for the Royals.