Can any Cleveland free agents help the KC Royals?

(Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals
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Two relievers stand out above the others, but should the Royals pursue them?

There was a time teams would have snatched up Bryan Shaw if he was available. He’s been a known quantity throughout his 11-year major league career, a durable reliever who’s led the big leagues in appearances three times—most recently last season with 81—and the American League once.

And snatch Shaw up is precisely what Colorado did when they signed him to a three-year, $27 million free agent deal after the 2017 campaign. That’s when Shaw began to struggle.

His ERA had never exceeded 3.52 before pitching for the Rockies, but he went 4-6 with a 5.93 ERA his first season in Colorado, and 3-2, 5.38 the next. How much working at Coors Field had to do with it is in the eye of the beholder: he had a 6.93 ERA there, and 5.10 on the road in 2018, then a 4.20 home mark and 6.89 road ERA in 2019.

The right-hander went to Seattle for the 2020 campaign and gave up 12 runs in six innings, then returned to Cleveland last season. He started well and was 2-3, 3.05 at the All-Star Break, but digressed a bit to 3.92 in the second half. Shaw’s September-October ERA was 4.15.

Shaw clearly isn’t the hurler he was in his first five Cleveland seasons (21-22, 3.11 ERA), and at 34 probably isn’t what the Royals are looking for. The club should pass on him.

Blake Parker is another veteran righty looking for work. He’s a respectable 16-11 with a 3.47 ERA in a nine-season career that started with the Cubs and has taken him to the Mariners, Yankees, Angels, Twins, Phillies and finally the then-Indians last year. Parker pitched 47 times for Cleveland and was a serviceable 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA. He also has decent control (2.9 career BB9).

But his age won’t help. Parker turns 37 in June, and Kansas City should be looking for younger relievers.