3 former KC Royals we'll be glad are gone in 2024 and 2 we'll wish stayed

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Stay: Zack Greinke

This take may look bad this time next month, as Zack Greinke could certainly return to Kansas City. But the chances of that outcome diminish with every day as Opening Day approaches. If the future Hall of Fame doesn't return to Kauffman Stadium, it will be a real shame

Greinke's Cy Young-winning days are far behind him but, as many of our commenters say, a bulk pitcher role wouldn't be terrible in 2024. He was marginally worse coming out of the bullpen in his three opportunities. Greinke himself was questioning if his stuff was still there midseason, and it was painful to watch some of his starts.

Kansas City signing Greinke wouldn't be for his production as much for his mentoring and chasing milestones. The Royals pitching staff got much older this offseason, adding experienced players like Will Smith, Michael Wacha, and Seth Lugo. Greinke has still mentored Daniel Lynch IV and Brady Singer for years now, a role we cannot quantify.

What Royals fans can count is how close Greinke is to that exclusive 3,000-strikeout benchmark. His 2,979 strikeouts are third-most among active starters and only trail Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Baseball's next pitcher to surpass 3,000 strikeouts may not happen for decades, with a wide gap between Clayton Kershaw's 2,944 and Chris Sale's 2,189.

I don't think Greinke will be much better than Kansas City's current pitching options, if at all. But, it would be nice to see the infamous righty on the mound for just one more season.