Pitcher Brad Keller
Keller's trade value has been an absolute roller coaster in the past calendar year. At this point, Keller is a poster child for the "trade or release" approach.
2023 is the final year the Royals control Keller. He carries a hefty arbitration fee, earning nearly $6 million this year alone. It was a vote of confidence in Keller, entering his sixth MLB season. He looked better than his 6-14 record reflected in 2022, and the Royals lacked better starting options ahead of the 2023 season. The move made sense in the preseason but looked terrible before too long.
Keller struggled through his nine starts this season, posting a career-worst 19.9 BB% and walking more batters than he struck out. He limited hard hits to an extent, and the 4.36 ERA is not too bad either. But, even on a team starving for quality starters, the Royals would be worse off with Keller on the mound after his injury. He has walked 18 batters in only eight innings with the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers.
I cannot see a route for Keller to rejoin the 26-man roster or a reason for him to do so. There is usually a place for players with potential and a track record of success, but Keller's recent performance raises serious doubts about his future in the major leagues. A team could send a minimal return for Keller, or the Royals could mercifully cut him loose. Both are very real possibilities, but Keller's time in Kansas City could be ending sooner rather than later.