Could the KC Royals catch Texas lightning in a bottle again?

Kansas City might find pitching help in Texas.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It will be a long time, and justifiably so, before KC Royals fans stop raving about last season's trade with Texas that brought Cole Ragans to Kansas City. Late in June, long before the midsummer trade deadline passed, the Royals sent veteran reliever Aroldis Chapman to the Rangers for Ragans and minor league outfielder Roni Cabrera.

Chapman helped Texas reach and win the World Series; Ragans pitched amazingly well in August and September and, on that bass alone, won the team's Bruce Rice Pitcher of the Year award.

Now, over a year later, could Kansas City connect with the Rangers and catch Texas lightning in a bottle again? Perhaps, and doing so could improve their needy bullpen and enhance their chances of landing a playoff berth for the first time since 2015 ... even if they have to take on some age.

Texas might be willing to part with two veteran relievers

Writing about the possible trade deadline postures of various clubs, USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports the 2023 World Series champion Rangers could shop (among others) veteran relievers David Robertson and Kirby Yates, both of whom could help the Royals stay in the postseason hunt.

Yates, 37, is the most attractive candidate of the two. The Rangers' closer, he's saved 13 games this season and, as a Padre, led the major leagues with 41 in 2019, a season before elbow issues struck, plagued him for three years, and led to Tommy John Surgery.

He's in good form now, with a flashy 0.86 ERA to go with those 13 saves and a 3-1 record in 31 appearances. Yates owns a 22-20, 3.31 ERA and 75 saves in 10 major league campaigns.

As a proven veteran — he's been in the majors since 2008 — Roberts might also be someone the Royals should think about.

Robertson, after all, is a savvy right-hander with an excellent 2.91 career ERA and 176 saves. Pitching primarily in late-inning relief this season, he's 2-3, 3.11 with a stingy 0.982 WHIP in 36 games. In three 2024 appearances against the Royals, he's struck out four and walked none in 2.1 innings and has a save and two holds.

That Robertson knows how to pitch is indisputable — no hurler survives for 16 seasons unless they do. Counting against him, though, is his age: he turned 39 in April. But Kansas City's interest in him, if they have any, wouldn't be long-term; instead, he'd be stop-gap help, a pitcher brought aboard to help right a rocky bullpen ship.

Kansas City probably prefers to find younger pitchers to strengthen manager Matt Quatraro's relief corps. Because their farm system, and thus the group of prospects it should be willing to trade, are thin, the Royals may have to take what promising talent it can get before the July 30 trade deadline comes and goes.

Maybe they can get younger and better help than Yates or Robertson. We'll see, and they should certainly try. But Kansas City shouldn't summarily dismiss the notion of checking in with the Rangers again.

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