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 the Yankees’ free agents.
Baseball’s free agent season opened earlier this month and, not surprisingly, the KC Royals haven’t opened the checkbook. The quiet in Kansas City is probably due more to the club’s fiscal conservatism than it is the industry-wide uncertainty surrounding the collective bargaining process, which may be making other teams gun-shy.
But if the Royals decide they need free agent help to shore up their pitching and add a veteran right fielder, there isn’t a market splash to be made in The Bronx.
A pair of spoken-for Yankee free agents wouldn’t have helped the KC Royals.
So far, the Yankees are a net zero in the pitching department. Second to few when it comes to lavish free agent spending, the Yanks’ only addition wasn’t expensive, or really a new acquisition at all—they signed one of their own free agents, reliever Joely Rodríguez, for a year at $2 million.
Rodriguez had arguably his best big league numbers in 2021, going 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in 21 games after coming over from the Rangers in July, but those stats have much to do with the fact he played for a better team than the bad Philadelphia and Texas clubs he’d toiled with since 2016. And his Yankee sample size was small—19 innings.
Rodriguez wouldn’t have added a lot to the KC Royals.
New York did lose pitcher Andrew Heaney, who took the Dodgers up on their one-year, $8.5 million offer. But as our FanSided colleagues at Yanks Go Yard aptly point out, Heaney’s departure may be a loss in name only. A starter by trade, Heaney split time between the rotation and bullpen after coming to New York in a trade deadline deal with the Angels, and was 8-9 with a 5.83 ERA between the two teams. Kansas City’s rotation is already shaky; adding Heaney would have made it shakier.
Are there any Yankee free agents left who could help make new KC general manager J.J. Picollo’s job a bit easier?