Can any Giant free agent starters help the KC Royals?

(Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals, Alex Wood
(Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports) /

On the morning after the World Series ended, when free agents actually became free agents, the San Francisco Giants were in an unenviable position. Winners of more regular season games in 2021 than any other team, the Giants knew they could lose over a dozen players on the open offseason market. Their free agent pool represented potential help for other clubs, like the KC Royals, in need of more talent.

The possibility of free agent losses damaging the National League West champions’ hopes for next season was real. Star midseason acquisition Kris Bryant, first baseman Brandon Belt, second baseman Donovan Solano, and four-fifths of San Francisco’s starting rotation—Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani, Johnny Cueto, and Alex Wood—all had free agent status. So did lesser-used Aaron Sanchez, Jose Quintana, Scott Kazmir and Tony Watson, among others.

Three weeks later, hope remains for the Giants. Only Quintana and Trevor Gott are gone so far (Quintana to Pittsburgh, Gott to Milwaukee), DeSclafani re-signed with San Francisco, Belt accepted the club’s qualifying offer, and recent reports have Wood close to coming back.

So where does that leave the Royals if they’re interested in any of the Giants’ free agents?

The KC Royals should not pursue at least 3 San Francisco free agents.

Bryant and Solano are out—even if Kansas City reached out to him, the club won’t pay Bryant what he’ll want and command, and the Royals’ stacked infield means they won’t pursue Solano. The Giants probably showed their hand with Cueto when they declined his option, although he isn’t a good choice for the Royals in any event.

But Kansas City might find some pitching help…if the price is right.