“Disappointed” should best describe anyone eagerly awaiting news that the KC Royals were making major moves Friday. Baseball’s contract tender deadline arrived and passed with no seismic roster shifts announced.
In fact, the 40-man roster didn’t change at all.
The Royals’ early-evening release announcing the non-tenders of pitchers Jake Brentz and Nate Webb, which immediately made them free agents, was not at all significant. The club previously signaled its plans for the two hurlers by designating them for assignment Tuesday, which merely simplified the process of letting them go. KC could, of course, re-sign Brentz, Webb, or both; don’t be at all surprised if they bring Brentz back into the fold.
How Kansas City apparently handled its nine arbitration-eligible players made bigger news.
The KC Royals reportedly tendered all players eligible for arbitration.
Despite widespread, and at times seemingly popular, speculation the team wouldn’t offer 2023 pacts to some Royals by Friday’s deadline, MLB.com KC beat writer Anne Rogers reports (Twitter link) that Kansas City instead tendered deals to every one of its players eligible to go through arbitration.
That means KC, which began this week with 10 arbitration-eligible players before re-signing Ryan O’Hearn, now faces potential arbitration hearings with Brad Keller, Brady Singer, Scott Barlow, Adalberto Mondesi, Nicky Lopez, Kris Bubic, Taylor Clarke, Amir Garrett and Josh Staumont. Each can accept whatever salary the club tendered (don’t expect the Royals to disclose those amounts) or proceed through the arbitration process, which can end at any time a player and team reach a negotiated deal.
Kansas City can also trade or DFA any of the nine.
At least for the time being, then, Royals whose tender fate seemed most uncertain—Keller, Mondesi, Garrett, and perhaps Clarke and Bubic, are safe. And Singer, Barlow, Lopez and Staumont aren’t going anywhere unless the Royals wrap them in trade packages; potential returns would have to be big, which means they are almost certain to be Royals next year.
Keller, a two-time club Pitcher of the Year, suffered his second straight disappointing season (6-14, 5.09 ERA) in 2021 and Mondesi, who missed most of the last two campaigns with injuries, seem like the two Royals most likely to be moved before Opening Day, although the club’s long-term investment in both may mean it will give both at least one more opportunity. And that Kansas City sorely needs pitching bodes well for the chances of Garrett, Clarke and Bubic to return.
Kansas City didn’t announce any major moves Friday.