The KC Royals proved again this week that they’ll leave few stones unturned in their so-far futile struggle to rediscover the relevance they briefly found in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
This time, the club added to its record of collecting castoff veterans, players trying valiantly to come back from assorted injuries, and once-promising but failed prospects by signing free agent outfielder Roman Quinn, whose long injury history dwarfs Adalberto Mondesi’s and includes two ruptured Achilles’ tendons and a depressing assortment of other maladies.
Why the Royals chose Quinn, who was slashing .162/.225/.189 when Philadelphia DFA’d him June 1 and hasn’t hit better than .213 since 2018, is a bit of a mystery considering their present well-stocked inventory of outfielders and outfield prospects. But sign him they did and assigned him to Triple-A Omaha.
And now, Kansas City has the opportunity to pursue two more established players, one a first round draft pick who has yet to meet expectations, the other a former Royals reliever.
But the club needs to avoid Clint Frazier and Trevor Rosenthal.
Outfielder Clint Frazier offers nothing the KC Royals don’t already have.
Only 27 and with realization of his potential still possible, Clint Frazier is an outfielder looking for a job. The Cubs DFA’d him Friday after the potential that moved Cleveland to select him in the first round of the 2013 amateur draft failed, just as it had in parts of five season with the Yankees, to break through in Chicago.
Frazier displayed flashes of power (57 home runs from 2014-2017) and speed (40 stolen bases from 2014-2016) in the minors, but averaged fewer than six homers and two steals a season during his time in The Bronx. And he had only one RBI and hit just .216 in 19 games with Chicago this year.
His big league numbers strongly suggest he can’t help the Royals, who boast talented outfielders Andrew Benintendi (although he’s a viable trade candidate), Michael A. Taylor, Kyle Isbel, Edward Olivares and, when they play in the outfield, veteran Whit Merrifield and rookie MJ Melendez, who’s clearly destined to stay in the majors.
Powerful Nick Pratto, the club’s No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, has been playing outfield in Omaha, where Brewer Hicklen and Dairon Blanco (recently DFA’d after a short KC stint but immediately outrighted to the Strom Chasers) are playing well.
That Frazier is, as reported by Yanks Go Yard’s Thomas Carannante, openly critical of the Yankees is another reason Kansas City will probably shy away from him—the Royals typically don’t gravitate to players who publicly air complaints about their employers.
The club needs to pass on Frazier.
A reunion with Trevor Rosenthal is something the KC Royals don’t need.
Just as they would a few weeks later with former Kansas City great Greg Holland, the Royals rolled the dice on a possibly washed up reliever when they signed Trevor Rosenthal to a minor league deal before the 2020 season. Both moves paid off—Rosenthal was the club’s effective closer and Holland succeeded him in that role when a trade deadline deal took Rosenthal to San Diego, where he helped the Padres reach the playoffs.
Rosenthal moved to Oakland after the season but injuries (thoracic outlet syndrome and a torn hip labrum) prevented him from ever throwing a pitch for the A’s. Again a free agent without a team, he showcased for several clubs earlier this week and was reportedly throwing his fastball up to 98 mph when a hamstring issue ended the event.
Whether or not that hamstring problem further delays his efforts to return to the majors remains to be seen; even if it doesn’t, Kansas City need not pursue Rosenthal. Forced into showcasing after missing an entire season with not insignificant health issues, he’s an even bigger gamble than he was two years ago, especially considering the Royals’ competent (but presently a bit shaky) late-inning relief corps. Supplementing the group of Scott Barlow, Josh Staumont and Jose Cuas, and Gabe Speier and Jake Brentz when they return from injuries, isn’t necessary.
The Royals may need help, but shouldn’t try to find it with Clint Frazier or Trevor Rosenthal.