4 other options the KC Royals should use before next Will Smith disaster

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Nick Anderson

Let's get this straight: Nick Anderson is not the traditional closing candidate this early in the season. The 33-year-old righty only has nine saves in 128 games, six coming in 19 2020 games. Smtih's struggles should force unconventional options into closing Royals games, but if Quatraro swears by a veteran, Anderson makes plenty of sense.

The Royals acquired Anderson via trade in November 2023 as a low-risk option to bolster the bullpen. Anderson has plenty of postseason experience with the Tampa Bay Rays, the same team he earned First Team All-MLB honors with in 2020. Injuries have impacted his availability since, with only 42⅔ innings since September 2021. Still, he has respectable numbers in that span, and Kansas City seems like a great place for him to get back on his figurative feet.

He has only thrown 22 pitches all year, so let's take all this with a grain of salt. Anderson is not inducing the swings and misses I expected, with a 22.2% whiff rate against opposing batters. Couple that with less movement on his curveball and fastball this season, Anderson is not going to explode like he did in 2020. That is why you trade your relievers when their value is highest.

So, considering this, his gaudy ERA and FIP, and low expectations, why would Quatraro move him into a closer role? The best reason I can think of is to protect the younger guys on the roster. Teams chase individual wins, but calculated organizations prioritize the long-term plan. Kansas City should look at their current roster and look to the long term as a team while building upon individual gains this season. It sucks as a Royals fan, but it is true.

All that to say: I would rather Anderson take some lumps closing games than Kansas City rush prospects like Steven Cruz or Will Klein into that role. Those two figure more into the Royals' outlook for 2025 and beyond than players like Anderson. Let him be a short-term quasi-solution and save younger players from the fire.