KC Royals Free Agent Hunt: 3 Tampa Bay pitchers

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Corey Kluber could be a nice addition to the KC Royals’ starting rotation.

Corey Kluber has pitched in the American Leaguer for his entire 12-year big league career and, judging from his numbers, it’s fair to say he enjoys pitching against Kansas City, against whom he’s 12-7 with a 3.38 ERA in 26 starts.

His ability to beat the Royals reflects the kind of success he’s had against the rest of the league. After helping spearhead Tampa Bay’s run to the 2022 postseason, Kluber boasts a nice 113-71, 3.31 record, two Cy Young awards, three All-Star berths, and a 20-win season and two 18-victory campaigns. He’s also led the majors in complete games three times and shutouts twice.

And now, Kluber is a free agent, available to any club needing a solid veteran starter.

Like Kansas City. Thanks to Brady Singer and to a lesser extent Zack Greinke, the Royals’ rotation didn’t completely humiliate itself last season, but it came close. Starters Daniel Lynch and Kris Bubic both lost 13 games. So did Brad Keller before he moved to the bullpen (and lost one more). As a group, the starters were largely ineffective, which means new pitching coach Brian Sweeney has a lot of work to do.

Hot. New pitching coach looks like a good fit. light

Kluber could help. Although injuries, including a broken arm, teres tear, and shoulder strain, limited him to 24 big league games from 2019-2021, he can still pitch—his 10 wins last season gave him double-digit victories for the first time since 2018, he led the majors in BB/9 (1.15) and BB% (3.0) (not surprising achievements considering his career 1.97 BB/9), and he gave the Rays 164 innings in 31 starts.

Picollo makes no secret of his desire to add a veteran starter to the rotation. Kluber could be it. He’ll be 37 in April, but a one or two-year deal could give the Royals some stability pending further development of their younger hurlers, especially if Greinke doesn’t return.