Could 3 ex-KC Royals hurlers give the club some pitching help in 2021?
Coming off a horrible 104-loss 2018 campaign, Kansas City went hunting for pitchers in the offseason and signed free agent Homer Bailey, whose 49-45 record from 2007-2013 moved Cincinnati to give him $105 million to work for them another six years.
But injuries struck the righthander and, by the end of 2018, he’d gone 18-32 for the Reds, including an awful 1-14 in 2018. The Royals picked him up just before spring training started and things went well for him in Kansas City—he went 7-6 for a bad Royal team (103 losses) before a July trade sent him to Oakland for Kevin Merrell.
Those seven wins ultimately tied Danny Duffy and Brad Keller for second-best on the club behind Jakob Junis’ nine victories. And he was excellent in Oakland: his 6-3 record there helped the A’s earn a Wild Card. He pitched twice for Minnesota in 2020, then spent last season in Oakland’s minor league system, where he went 2-8 with a 7.39 ERA.
Bailey, now 35, is at the back end of his career. The KC Royals should look elsewhere.
That’s also the case with Kevin McCarthy, who was 11-6 with a 4.50 ERA in five seasons with the Royals until he signed a free agent contract with the Red Sox after the 2020 campaign. He was 1-2 in 35 games split between Triple-A stops in the Boston and Chicago White Sox organizations in 2021, but had a disconcerting 7.12 ERA.
It seemed Heath Fillmyer might have a KC future after his 4-2, 4.26 ERA, 17-game rookie season in 2018, but he went 0-2 with an 8.06 ERA in 2019, and the Royals released him in August 2020. His 4-7, 6.18 2021 effort with Cleveland’s Triple-A affiliate should give Picollo pause.
Several former KC Royals are now minor league free agents. The club shouldn’t pursue any of them.