KC Royals Free Agents: Club adds another reliever

(Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports) /

The retooling of the Kansas City bullpen, a seemingly never-ending project of former General Manager and present President of Baseball Operations Dayton Moore, continued last summer with the midseason acquisitions of Joel Payamps and Domingo Tapia. An exodus of relievers then marked this offseason’s pre-MLB lockout phase—gone from the KC Royals are Jakob Junis, Kyle Zimmer, Jesse Hahn, Scott Blewett, Greg Holland, Ervin Santana and the retired Wade Davis.

It remains to be seen, but seems doubtful, whether the Royals will pursue veteran free agents Holland and Santana when the transaction freeze ends. They’ve already supplemented the bullpen with former Dodgers prospect Zach Willeman (the player to be named later in the Danny Duffy deal), signed Taylor Clarke just before the lockout, and added Arodys Vizcaíno on a freeze-exempt minor league deal several days ago.

Now, Kansas City has added another minor leaguer to its relief corps. Announced earlier today, according to the Kansas City Star’s Lynn Worthy (Twitter link), is the signing of former Boston hurler Colten Brewer.

Just who is the newest addition the KC Royals have made to their bullpen?

Brewer’s may not be a household name, but he has more than a cup of coffee’s worth of big league experience. He’s appeared in 81 games, enough to reveal a few things about who he is as a pitcher.

Brewer, 29, broke in with San Diego in 2018. He picked up his first major league victory just before the season ended, but his short 11-game stint with the Padres revealed two problems—he gives up too many runs for a reliever and battles control. He surrendered six unearned runs (10 in all) and walked seven in 9.2 innings.

And things haven’t improved in the parts of three seasons he’s pitched in since. Brewer was 1-2 with a 4.12 ERA and 5.6 BB9 in 58 relief appearances for Boston in 2019, had a 5.61 ERA and 4.9 BB9 in 11 short-season 2020 games, and found himself back in the minors after giving up four runs and walking three in one inning last season. He became a minor league free agent in November, a status making him available to major league clubs despite the current ban on major league deals.

Brewer’s minor league numbers are similarly unremarkable. In eight seasons (153 games including 45 starts), the righthander is 21-28, 4.05; his walk rate, however, is a better 3.09.

The Royals’ newest pitcher throws, according to Baseball Savant, a cut fastball that’s consistently just under 94 mph, and a slider and curve.

So, what do the Royals have in mind for Brewer? Look for the club to take a serious look at him in spring training, but his immediate future probably lies at Triple-A Omaha. A spot on the Opening Day big league roster seems unlikely, especially if the Royals sign an established big league bullpen piece when the lockout ends.

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The Royals have signed reliever Colten Brewer to a minor league contract.