Could this possible Minnesota trade target help the KC Royals instead?

Carlos Estévez is being mentioned for the Twins.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The KC Royals could be the darlings of the American League Central, a team whose surprising success has it in the national spotlight when just a season ago it languished in the cellar of a weak division.

Now, though, the Royals are contenders. Losing 106 times like they did last year won't happen; instead, their legitimate challenge for a postseason spot — they'd be in the playoffs via a Wild Card slot if the season ended right now — will probably continue deep into September, and stands a good chance of ending successfully.

Perhaps lost on Royals fans, however, and understandably so considering all the attention focused on the promising third-place club that just won a big series against American League Central-leading Cleveland, is the other team standing in the way of a division title, and perhaps even a Wild Card berth. Minnesota, winner of the Central last season and three times in the last five, is right there again, one game ahead of Kansas City and seven behind Cleveland.

And as Josh Hill at our FanSided sister site Puckett's Pond aptly pointed out yesterday, the Twins need relief help. This is, of course, a trait they share with the Royals, whose concerning bullpen has the fewest number of strikeouts in the majors and a problematic 4.26 ERA.

In his story, Hill considers Bleacher Report's recent suggestion that Angels reliever Carlos Estévez might provide what Minnesota needs, and concludes he might be a reliever the Twins could use.

But could he help the Royals? Should they consider pursuing him for their own stretch run?

Kansas City shouldn't have Carlos Estévez at the top of its list

That the Royals are situating themselves to shake the trade deadline seller status to which they've so unfortunately become accustomed is a welcome change. The inconsistent performance of KC's bullpen, including the peaks and valleys characterizing closer James McArthur's season, demands some action before this summer's deal deadline expires late in the day July 30.

Estévez is a known commodity. He's in his eighth big league campaign, all of his 411 appearances have come out of either Colorado's bullpen or the Angels', and he's saved 72 games.
He saved a career-high 31 games for Los Angeles last season and could eclipse that mark this year — he saved his 16th against Detroit last Friday.

But the veteran right-hander wouldn't be coming to Kansas City free of concerns. His current 3.00 ERA is certainly acceptable, but it was 3.90 in 2024, 4.38 only three seasons ago, and it's exceeded 5.00 three times. The latter marks aren't ideal for relievers, and especially closers, but they're easier for a team like the Twins to absorb, which fits nicely with Hill's accurate position that Estéves is someone they should consider.

Those ERAs alone should force the Royals to think twice about going after Estévez, especially considering he's posted them in relief. Bringing in a reliever who's too often given up too many runs isn't a move a club with a high bullpen ERA should make when, unlike Minnesota, it's trying to end a long playoff drought. And that's so even if acquiring him would block the Twins from getting him.

The Royals should seek bullpen help elsewhere.

(Want a different perspective on how Estévez might fare with the Royals? Check out our Jacob Milham's recent story here).

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