KC Royals Free Agent Hunt: Any help in San Diego?

(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals
(Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports) /

The KC Royals might consider 2 hurlers, including a former Royal prospect.

Sean Manaea’s name surfaced frequently as the 2022 trade deadline approached. Pitching in his seventh major league season, the lefty who was a top Kansas City prospect until the team’s need for 2015 stretch run help caused them to swap him and Aaron Brooks to Oakland for Ben Zobrist, found himself the subject of daily trade speculation.

But a deal never came and Manaea finished the season with San Diego, who’d acquired him via a trade with the A’s a few days before the season began. He went 8-9 with a 4.96 ERA in 30 appearances (28 starts), and lost a game to Philadelphia in the NLCS.

What ought to make Manaea attractive to the Royals is his talent. He gave Oakland five decent years, going 50-41, 3.86 in 129 games, all but one of which were starts, and threw two shutouts in 2021. His career BB/9 is only 2.34, his career ERA just a shade above 4.00 at 4.06.

Only 30, Manaea is a veteran starter who could help Kansas City’s shaky rotation. Picollo should give him a call.

San Diego’s final free agent for the Royals to think about is righthanded starter Mike Clevinger, a familiar name to KC fans because he beats their team like a drum—he’s 9-0 with a 1.98 ERA against the Royals, the best record he owns against any big league club.

But Clevinger also hasn’t been kind to other clubs. He’s 51-30 lifetime and, from 2017 through 2019, won 38 games for Cleveland.

Clevinger was only 7-7 in 2022, a disappointing record likely due in no small part to his missing the entire 2021 season after Tommy John Surgery. He also had knee and triceps issues this season.

Is Clevinger worth consideration? Perhaps, but signing him isn’t without risk, and he’s almost certain to leave if he succeeds on a one-year “show me”-type deal.

Next. Let the O'Hearn Watch begin. dark

Of San Diego’s free agents, the Royals should think about only two.