3 KC Royals who will make the 2024 Opening Day roster but won’t last the season

So many things can change between March and September.
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RHP Jordan Lyles

Does veteran Jordan Lyles have value in the rotation? Yes, to a degree. Does the $8.5 million remaining on his deal make him an unattractive cut or trade option? It certainly does. But there are so many starting options vying for Lyles' rotation spot that his finishing 2024 in Kansas City feels unlikely.

Fans' expectations for Lyles are low in 2024 after a substandard 2023 performance. Sure, he led the team with 177 2/3 innings and 31 starts, but what happened in that body of work did not live up to his two-year, $17 million deal. He posted an ugly 6.28 ERA, the only MLB pitcher with an ERA higher than 6 in at least 130 innings pitched. His fastball lost some life, and his secondary offerings are all below average, according to FanGraphs.

Lyles hasn't made any fans during his Kansas City tenure, and it is hard to blame Royals fans for wanting him gone. I get it; he still somehow posted a positive fWAR last year, thanks to the Royals playing him deep in his starts. But, whether it be his lackluster pitch arsenal or allowing a career-high 39 home runs, any good Lyles did was quickly forgotten about.

Like Hampson, Lyles has to both produce and hope another option doesn't emerge. Pitchers Daniel Lynch IV, Alec Marsh, and Angel Zerpa are just a few starters pushing for that fifth spot in the rotation. All of those pitchers are younger and more controllable than Lyles, giving them the edge in the long-term picture. If Kansas City sees Lyles slipping and replaceable by an internal option, they should jettison him. That is the baseball business for you.