KC Royals Hot Stove News: A pair of free agent deals!

(Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /

Welcome back to Kings of Kauffman’s offseason update series. Like many other FanSided baseball sites, we’ll be using this format regularly to keep fans up to date on what the KC Royals are, and aren’t, doing to improve the club. So, keep a close eye on this space. 

The KC Royals began the Hot Stove season needing to shore up what in 2022 were a subpar starting rotation and shaky bullpen. But until Tuesday, the only pitching help the club had acquired were minor league hurlers Marvin Rojas, Julio Rosario and Damian Jimenez, all of whom the club signed over three weeks ago.

The ensuing quiet ended Tuesday evening, probably much to the relief of some who wondered whether the Royals intended to sign any big league pitchers this winter.

The club announced this free agent deal:

Anyone not familiar with Yarbrough should check out our recent story about Tampa Bay free agents who could help the Royals, which just happens to include a discussion about Kansas City’s newest pitcher.

Suffice it to say here that Yarbrough, a veteran of five major league seasons (all with the Rays), has a 40-31, 4.33 career record and, as his career 2.03 BB/9 suggests, good control.

Yarbrough can start or relieve. How his new club chooses to use him remains to be seen.

Yarbrough’s deal won’t break the Royal bank. He’ll reportedly make $3 million for 2023 with the chance to make another $1 million via incentives.

Kansas City opened space on its 40-man roster for the lefthanded Yarbrough by designating Wyatt Mills for assignment.

The KC Royals have reportedly added a free agent catcher to the organization.

Making perhaps less news Tuesday were reports, including one from FanSided’s own MLB Insider Robert Murray (Twitter link), that the club has reunited with Jakson Reetz.

Kansas City signed Reetz, who’d recently been let go by the Washington organization, to a minor league deal last August. He slashed a respectable .257/.341/.514 with five homers in 21 games for Triple-A Omaha, then became a free agent last month.

Reetz has some major league experience, but not much—he appeared in two games for the Nationals in 2021 and had a double in two at-bats.

Why the Royals signed Reetz is a bit of a mystery. The club has three catchers (Salvador Perez, MJ Melendez and Freddy Fermin) on its 40-man roster, and catching prospects Logan Porter at Omaha and Luca Tresh at Double-A Northwest Arkansas. And former Royal Cam Gallagher, an excellent backup with Kansas City from 2017-2022, is an available free agent who has credibility and an established knowledge of KC’s pitchers if the team is interested in a good backup backstop.

More. Why Cam Gallagher makes sense. light

KC Royals and arbitration.

With Adalberto Mondesi and Ryan O’Hearn re-signed and Luke Weaver now with the Mariners, the Royals have eight players—Brad Keller, Scott Barlow, Nicky Lopez, Brady Singer, Amir Garrett, Kris Bubic, Taylor Clarke, and Josh Staumont—with whom KC will have to arbitrate if they don’t sign new deals. Only Lopez isn’t a pitcher.

Unsigned players and the club have until January 13 to exchange 2023 salary proposals for purposes of arbitration hearings that start Jan. 30. Those eight Royals and the team can still settle.

KC Royals transactions to date.

While Kansas City has signed Yarbrough, Reetz, Rojas, Rosario and Jimenez, six 2022 Royals (including Weaver), are no longer with the team:

  • Brent Rooker.  Waiver claim to Oakland.
  • Nate Webb. Signed with Pittsburgh.
  • Sebastian Rivero. Released.
  • Gabe Speier. Waiver claim to Seattle.
  • Tyler Zuber. Waiver claim to Arizona.
  • Weaver. Waiver claim to Seattle.

dark. Next. Grading Nick Pratto

Watch here for more KC Hot Stove happenings.