KC Royals Free Agent Hunt: 3 Tampa Bay pitchers

(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /
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Over the last four years, beginning with an ugly 103-loss 2019 campaign and ending with 97 defeats last season, the KC Royals won almost 100 games fewer than they lost.

Partially responsible for that unsightly performance are the Tampa Bay Rays, who beat Kansas City 12 out of 20 times in that span (the clubs didn’t play each other in 2020) and whose four-season 322-224 record is precisely the opposite of Kansas City’s. And while the Royals didn’t come close to postseason play, Tampa Bay made the playoffs each year and won the American League pennant in 2020 before losing the World Series to the Dodgers.

Next season, even in the tough AL East, the Rays have a good shot at reaching the playoffs for the fifth straight time, but it may be a road the club travels without seven players who became free agents last month.

Will any of those seven interest the Royals? Four might, but shouldn’t; three others, all pitchers, are worth thinking about.

The KC Royals should pass on four of Tampa Bay’s current free agents.

Despite scattered media speculation that Kansas City is seeking a backup catcher, don’t expect the club to look Tampa Bay’s way for one. Mike Zunino and Kevin Kiermaier are both good, but it’s difficult to see the Royals actually going outside the organization when they already have MJ Melendez, Freddy Fermin, and perhaps Logan Porter, to back up Salvador Perez.

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Two other Tampa Bay free agents won’t fulfill KC general manager J.J. Picollo’s well-reported desire to add a righthanded bat to his club’s lineup. Outfielder David Peralta can hit, but he’s a lefty, and after curiously acquiring him in June, the Royals’ release of switch hitter Roman Quinn from Triple-A Omaha later in the summer makes him an unlikely candidate.

Now, on to those three pitchers.