3 minor-league options to replace Bubic in KC Royals rotation
By Jacob Milham
Let's get the least inspiring or intriguing option out of the way. Veteran pitcher Mike Mayers is currently the most experienced pitcher in Triple-A Omaha, but his performances so far are nothing to write home about.
The 31-year-old righty has been primarily a relief option in his MLB career in St. Louis and Los Angeles. Mayers has made 198 appearances since 2016, with only six starts. But the Royals have been deploying Mayers as a starter for the Storm Chasers. In his five starts and appearances with Omaha, Mayers has a 7.36 ERA through 22 innings of work. His command issues have persisted, with him averaging nearly four walks per nine innings. Mayers is only a season removed from his career peaks in 2020 and 2021, but nothing is going his way in Omaha. To be fair, the pitching struggles for the Storm Chasers could be systemic, as most of Omaha's starters and relievers are struggling to start 2023.
Mayers is a sensible option if the Royals want to continue deploying an opener or if they want to stretch Mayers out even more. Three of his five appearances in 2023 have gone at least five innings, a respectable amount to ask of a spot starter in the MLB. In addition, Mayers has allowed only five earned runs across those three outings.
The Royals do not have much invested in Mayers as a player. This is his first year with the organization, and it could be his only one. Mayers does not have any options remaining, so if the Royals call him up, it is a gamble on their part. He would have to pass through waivers to return to Omaha when that time comes. For now, Mayers remains an option in lieu of the Royals rushing another young pitcher to The Show.