4 KC Royals players that may have lost their roster spot this offseason

Toronto Blue Jays v Kansas City Royals
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Kris Bubic

Kris Bubic seems the most likely of the Royals' many listed starting pitchers to get the bump in order to accommodate Seth Lugo and/or another starting pitcher the Royals have yet to sign. Bubic was only able to give the team 16 innings this year after 130 in 2021 and 129 in 2022 due to arm strain issues that snowballed into a necessary Tommy John surgery. He spent some time in the minors for rehab and was officially activated again on Nov. 2. In his last start before injury, he gave up 10 hits and seven home runs over five innings. In 2022, he had the worst ERA of Royals pitchers with over 100 innings of work.

It's most likely that Bubic would be a DFA candidate for the Royals if they decide to cut him. MLB.com's Royals depth chart lists seven pitchers in their rotation, including Lugo and Bubic. The Royals could bump him down into a relief spot, but with 12 pitchers listed in their bullpen when you take Stratton into account, and given Bubic's recent injury, it seems safer for the Royals to let him go altogether.

Jonathan Heasley

After starting 21 games for the Royals in 2022 and following Kris Bubic with the second worst ERA of the team's pitchers with over 100 innings, Jonathan Heasley fell out of favor and only pitched 15 innings in relief this year for a 7.20 ERA as pitchers like Cole Ragans and Daniel Lynch moved into starter roles. Heasley went between the majors and minors three times over the course of the season, and he pitched 94 2/3 innings in Omaha for a 6.85 ERA.

Heasley could be another DFA candidate, or the Royals could just send him back to the minors and continue to recall him to the major leagues when they're in need of an extra bullpen arm. Either way, it seems incredibly likely that he'll get the boot form the major league team ahead of 2024.

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