Should the KC Royals pursue any Toronto free agents?
The Toronto Blue Jays had the misfortune of playing in the American League East last season, a decent division where their 91-71 record gave them no better than a fourth place finish and, like the KC Royals, no playoff spot. But they may not be nearly as good in 2022—they lost several top players to free agency before the MLB lockout began.
Marcus Semien went to Texas, Robbie Ray to Seattle, Steven Matz to St. Louis, and Kirby Yates (who actually didn’t play in 2021) to Atlanta, leaving only a handful of Blue Jay free agents on the market.
Should the KC Royals consider any of Toronto’s remaining free agents?
The answer to that question is “Maybe,” but only if the Royals are looking for a backup outfielder. The Jays’ current free agent field just isn’t deep.
Take the pitchers, for example. Righthanders Carl Edwards Jr. and Rafael Dolis are available, but neither reliever should interest Kansas City. Edwards split last season between the Braves and Blue Jays, but pitched only seven times and gave up seven runs in just 5.2 innings. Although he’s 9-8 with a 3.77 ERA and owns a commendable 12.0 SO9 in seven big league seasons, his control is questionable—Edwards averages five walks per nine innings.
Control is also a concern with Dolis. He issued 27 bases on balls in 32 innings with the Jays last season and his career BB9 is 6.0. His best season was 2020, when he went 2-2 with a 1.50 ERA in 24 appearances—but he still had a 5.3 BB9.
The KC Royals could, but shouldn’t, reunite again with an old friend.
Kansas City surprised many last spring when they brought back outfielder Jarrod Dyson on a one-year deal. We speculated in this space that he might not last the season, and that turned out to be the case when the Blue Jays made a waiver claim on him in August. He hit .221 for the Royals, then .077 with Toronto to finish with a .207/.260/.289 line.
Those numbers alone signal Dyson isn’t a good choice for the Royals. Yes, he still has speed, but no longer gets on base often enough to make that speed count. And the Royals have plenty of younger reserve outfield options without resorting to Dyson, who’ll be 38 in August.
A Blue Jay outfielder might be a viable backup candidate for the KC Royals.
The Royals shouldn’t pursue Dyson, but that isn’t necessarily the case with Corey Dickerson, who offers a serviceable lefthanded bat. Dickerson batted .271 in 109 games for the Jays last season, has some power (128 homers in nine seasons, including 27 in 2017 and 24 in both 2014 and 2016), and is adequate defensively.
Could he fit in Kansas City? His 2021 numbers suggest that even at 33 he has a few good seasons left, but the Royals probably prefer a younger outfielder to fill their right field opening. He could be a good lefty bat off the bench, but expect Kansas City to look elsewhere.
The final Toronto free agent doesn’t offer much for the Royals. Eight-year veteran Jake Lamb is primarily a third baseman, which means he’d find breaking into the KC lineup hard, if not impossible—Bobby Witt Jr. and Adalberto Mondesi are the two Royals most likely to play there, and Lamb won’t beat either out. He’s also played left field and first base, but Andrew Benintendi is a lock in left and Carlos Santana or Nick Pratto will claim first.
Toronto’s remaining free agents won’t wow Kansas City.