KC Royals: Ryan McBroom and other Royal questions

(Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) /

We answer a Ryan McBroom question, and a few others, on this KC Royals off day.

Some answers to a handful of KC Royals questions while wondering how big the bruise on Salvador Perez’s upper thigh is after he was whacked by a foul ball Wednesday night:

The KC Royals recently called up Ryan McBroom. Is he back to stay?

Probably not. This return to the majors figures to be short for McBroom—so short, in fact, that he may find himself optioned back to the Alternate Training Site before this story publishes. As Kings of Kauffman’s David Scharff pointed out when the club recalled McBroom Tuesday, the fact the Royals were starting a National League park series with Pittsburgh likely spurred the need for a bit of pinch-hitting depth. (American League pitchers must hit in NL venues).

McBroom remains one of the first pinch hitters KC calls upon, the natural consequence of the three pinch-hit home runs he hit last season. But after Wednesday’s series-splitting victory in Pittsburgh, the Royals are done in NL parks until they play in Milwaukee May 18-19. That leaves little need for McBroom, so expect the club to send him back down and bring a pitcher up.

Speaking of Wednesday’ night’s victory, what was especially encouraging?

The Royals did a lot of things well against the Pirates Wednesday, but storming back with three runs in the sixth after Pittsburgh scored three in the fourth and two in the fifth to close within a run was impressive. And Jorge Soler and Andrew Benintendi were right in the thick of it—Soler doubled home Whit Merrifield to make it 7-5, then Benintendi doubled in Carlos Santana and Soler to extend the Royals’ lead to 9-5 (they won 9-6).

Soler and Benintendi also combined with Salvador Perez to form the most productive third of the lineup. The trio went 7-for-12 with four doubles and six RBIs. Perez and Soler were both 3-for-5 and Benintendi went 1-for-2 with three walks.

And Josh Staumont, possibly emerging as the club’s closer, held the Bucs scoreless and hitless and struck out two in 1.1 innings to earn his team-leading third save.

Does pitcher Ervin Santana have much of a future with this Kansas City club?

That’s hard to say, but the prospects for an extended Kansas City stay don’t look good for the righthander who’s in his 17th big league season. Santana’s appeared only twice since the Royals selected his contract April 13 (he was working at the Alternate Training Site at the time). He didn’t see action until four days later when he gave up a run in three innings against Toronto; three days after that, he surrendered two runs and four hits in two frames against the Rays. So, when the Royals play the Twins Friday night, he won’t have pitched for 10 days.

That manager Mike Matheny saw fit to use him only twice in over two weeks doesn’t bode well for Santana’s long term future. Perhaps the rotation’s gradual overall improvement lessened the need for Santana, but he still isn’t pitching much, and that usually isn’t good for 38-year old hurlers who haven’t worked regularly since 2017.

Are there any unsigned free agents who might be able to help the KC Royals?

Possibly, but help with what? These improved, scrappy and resilient Royals are in first place in the American League Central, own the best winning percentage in the game, and have, at least at this point, no glaring, self-defeating weaknesses. Yes, it’s early, but this is a decent club and Adalberto Mondesi hasn’t even played yet; if trades aren’t needed, why would principal owner John Sherman want General Manager Dayton Moore chasing free agents?

But back to the original question. There’s a reason the remaining free agents are still free agents, and Kansas City either didn’t want, or couldn’t sign, any of them.

Yasiel Puig was available and could have added power to the KC lineup, but it looks like he’ll spend this season in the Mexican League. But even over the winter, the former Dodger star wasn’t what the Royals were looking for.

Former KC starter Homer Bailey, who tied for second in wins on the Royals’ bad 2019 club despite being traded to Oakland in a midsummer trade and helping the A’s to the postseason, hasn’t found work since the Twins released him last September. Former Philadelphia and Texas star Cole Hamels is also on the market, but last season’s shoulder issues may explain why. At this point, it’s too early for the Royals to search outside the club for solutions to its rotation’s inconsistencies, which are showing some signs of resolving themselves.

When do the KC Royals’ minor league affiliates begin their 2021 seasons?

This one’s easy. Kansas City’s two newest teams, the Quad Cities River Bandits and the Columbia Fireflies, open their inaugural Royal campaigns Tuesday. Quad Cities calls Davenport, Iowa, home and is the Royals’ new High-A club, while the Fireflies are based in Columbia, South Carolina and will be the A-level affiliate.

Returning to Kansas City’s organizational fold are the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers and the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals, who play out of Springdale. Like the two A teams, Omaha and the Naturals begin their seasons Tuesday.

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We’ll have more minor league news soon and will, of course, provide coverage during the season.

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The Royals are off today but start a three-game weekend series in Minnesota Friday night at 7:10 p.m. CDT. The Saturday and Sunday games both start at 1:10 p.m.