For now, the KC Royals should probably rely on the pitchers they have.
Kansas City’s pitching must get better. Although Carlos Hernández solidified it in last season’s second half, the starting rotation lacked a true ace and the bullpen, strong at the back end with Scott Barlow and Josh Staumont, wasn’t the best in the middle.
That’s why President of Baseball Operations Dayton Moore and General Manager J.J. Picollo busied themselves strengthening the Royals’ pitching staff over the winter. They brought aboard at least five relievers to offset bullpen weaknesses and offseason attrition and, in a roster-building free agent coup, reunited with starter Zack Greinke, an established veteran who’s expected to add wins and mentor and guide the club’s youthful hurlers.
But is there more the Royals should do? Although recent reports tied the club to Oakland starter Frankie Montas and the A’s are apparently shopping former Royal Sean Manaea, it’s time for Kansas City to stand pat with its rotation. Yes, Mike Minor is gone, the price the Royals paid to the Reds for Amir Garrett, but Greinke should more than compensate for the loss of Minor’s eight 2021 wins.
But development is the bigger reason to leave the rotation as is. The Royals need to find out if rota candidates Hernandez, Brad Keller, Brady Singer, Kris Bubic, Daniel Lynch, and Jackson Kowar can pitch more consistently and effectively this season. Greinke is a lock—who should join him regularly needs to be determined from what appears to be the core of future rotations.
And the bullpen? With all their new relievers and incumbents Scott Barlow, Josh Staumont, Jake Brentz, Dylan Coleman and Domingo Tapia, the Royals should see how they pan out before tinkering any more.
Simply put, the club can wait to swing a game-changing, big pitcher deal until it’s closer to contention.