Can added talent in rotation put more pressure on Singer?
Singer's top-of-the-rotation ceiling still exists, even if his 2023 performance quickly dashed fans' hopes it would materialize. Singer has spoken about how he struggled to find a rhythm last season after spending much of his spring training in the World Baseball Classic. Baseball players are creatures of habit, and that major schedule change likely threw Singer a curveball. But one wonders if there was much pressure for him to find that groove.
The 2023 Royals lacked talent all around, but more so in the rotation. When guys like 39-year-old Zack Greinke and Jordan Lyles are the top dogs, the rotation's expectations were low before Opening Day. No other pitcher challenged Singer for his spot in the rotation, no matter how rocky things got for him. The Royals simply lacked another option, at least one that would fare better than Singer on the mound.
That will no longer be the case in 2024. Cole Ragans looks like Kansas City's Opening Day starter. Michael Wacha and Seth Lugo figure to hold down the middle of the rotation. That pushes Singer and Lyles to the bottom of the rotation, where the competition has more variables. Could seeing his job in trouble reignite a fire in Singer, challenging himself as a person and a player?
This is a battle that no stat will reveal, but this puts some more pressure on Singer. The Royals will have multiple former starters in the bullpen on Opening Day or pushed to Triple-A Omaha so they can continue to stay stretched out. Singer also has options remaining in case his performances drastically decline. All those factors put some more heat on Singer's seat in the rotation.