Welcome back to Kings of Kauffman’s continuing series analyzing how the free agent market could impact the KC Royals. Over the next few weeks, our writers will scrutinize each club’s free agents and project who might, or might not, fit Kansas City’s needs. Today, we focus on some of St. Louis’ free agent pitchers.
Southpaw Danny Duffy, working the final season of his contract and pitching better than he had in years, was the best KC Royals starter when the second of his two 2021 left flexor strains sidelined him in July. But eager to bolster their pitching for the stretch run, the Dodgers wanted him anyway and Duffy, perhaps finding the notion of playing in his native California and the probability of postseason play too much to resist, didn’t invoke his right as a “10 & 5” player to reject the LA-KC trade that sent him West.
Unfortunately, Duffy didn’t heal or pitch again, and his departure left a hole in the Royals’ rotation. He could return to Kansas City as a free agent, but his flexor strains render his future uncertain and leave unanswered the question of whether he’ll pitch in 2022. Or ever again.
KC has other lefthanded starters, of course, but none free from uncertainties of their own. Kris Bubic and Mike Minor had frustratingly inconsistent seasons; Daniel Lynch and Angel Zerpa need more experience and have much to learn. So the club could use an established lefty starter.
It just so happens four such hurlers, now free agents, spent 2021 just down Interstate 70 in St. Louis. Could any of them help the Royals?