KC Royals Free Agent Hunt: St. Louis has pitching

(Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals
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Not considering reliever Alex Reyes might be a mistake for the KC Royals.

Dayton Moore never distinguished himself as a master of baseball’s free agent market, but the down-on-their-luck relievers he signed to cheap deals occasionally paid some dividends; Trevor Rosenthal and Greg Holland immediately come to mind.

Time will tell whether J.J. Picollo, who assumed more control of KC personnel decisions after the club dismissed Moore almost two months ago, carries on his predecessor’s tradition of inking pitchers in disrepair or showing signs of decline, but Alex Reyes could give him that opportunity.

Reyes is a free agent only because the Cardinals non-tendered him Friday amid health concerns rendering his preparedness for next Opening Day uncertain—he’s suffered a variety of injuries during his years with St. Louis and a labrum operation forced him to the sidelines for all of the 2022 season. But despite undergoing Tommy John Surgery and missing the 2017 campaign, he made his way back and, featuring a fastball averaging almost 97 mph, became an effective closer for the Cards by saving 29 games and winning 10 in his All-Star 2021 campaign.

Reyes fits the mold for a classic Kansas City reclamation effort—like Rosenthal and Holland before him, he’s burdened by recent health issues but successful pitching is in his near, not distant, past. The Royals already have an excellent closer in Scott Barlow, whose stellar 2022 season reinforced his hold on that role but, if Reyes comes back strong, he’d give KC an added late-inning boost.

Signing Reyes to a minor league deal with an inexpensive guarantee if he makes the majors is worth exploring.

No big moves by deadline. dark. Next

Kansas City should kick the tires on a couple of St. Louis free agents.