Should 2 decent lefthanded starters interest the KC Royals this offseason?
July 30, the last day trades were allowed this past season, dawned with Jon Lester stranded on a bad Washington team. Halfway across the country, sluggish St. Louis was nine games out of first place in the NL Central and appeared all but written out of baseball’s developing postseason script.
The Cardinals weren’t giving up, though, and traded for Lester just before the trade curtain fell. He went 4-1 down the stretch and helped his new club win a Wild Card.
The 16-year major league veteran’s two successful months in St. Louis, and the serviceable 7-6 effort he gave the Nationals, suggest that even at age 37 (38 in January), Lester has enough left in the tank to help the Royals. After all, he has 200 wins and can still pitch. He’s a savvy competitor, relishes big games, always wants the ball, and can help lead and mentor Kansas City’s young hurlers.
A one-year deal is probably all the Royals should offer Lester. That might be enough time, though, for Lester to set an example, pass on some valuable knowledge, and snare a few wins.
J.A. Happ is another veteran lefthander Kansas City might consider for a short starter-mentor role. A 5-6 record didn’t dissuade the Cardinals from acquiring him from Minnesota the same day they traded for Lester and, like Lester, he came through. He went 5-2 in 11 starts after the trade.
Happ is 133-100 in 15 big league seasons, won 20 games (and lost only four) for Toronto in 2016, and has won at least 10 games eight times.