The MLB lockout, now over two months long and beginning to fester, won’t end today. It won’t end this week, and probably not this month. But when it does, and baseball lifts its present prohibition on major league transactions, the KC Royals should address the state of their bullpen.
Fortunately, the Kansas City relief corps isn’t a disaster, or even a dumpster fire. The bulk of late inning work is in the capable hands of Scott Barlow and Josh Staumont. Manager Mike Matheny can rely in the sixth, seventh, and sometimes the eighth innings on pleasant 2020 surprise Jake Brentz; Domingo Tapia, who performed well KC acquired him from Seattle last season; Gabe Speier; and Dylan Coleman, who pitched impressively in his short September KC stint.
The problem, then, is depth, especially considering the departures of Kyle Zimmer, Scott Blewett, Jakob Junis, and Jesse Hahn, the unlikelihood of the club re-signing free agents Ervin Santana and Greg Holland and, to a limited extent, the retirement of Wade Davis.
The KC Royals have added some relievers, but will probably keep looking.
The Royals have signed Sam Freeman and Arodys Vizcaíno to minor league deals, but Freeman is a reclamation project and Vizcaíno hasn’t pitched in the majors since undergoing shoulder surgery in 2019. The club also inked Taylor Clarke not long before the lockout started.
But will those new relievers be enough? Perhaps not, and that’s why the Royals will likely resume their lockout-interrupted search to supplement the bullpen as soon as the transaction freeze ends. And they might look to Cleveland’s four free agent relievers.