NL contenders have plenty of pitching projects for the Royals.
7. Arizona Diamondbacks: Tommy Pham
Tommy Pham may not be the most enticing outfielder on the free agent market, but he would get the job done and push for Kansas City's left fielding spot. He ranks among the MLB's best in chase rate, average exit velocity, and hard-hit percentage. Just tell the Royals broadcast team how hard Pham hits the ball, and they will not stop talking about him.
8. Atlanta Braves: Kevin Pillar
The Atlanta Braves have most of their best players locked up on long-term deals, making them an uninteresting team to pull free agents from. Kevin Pillar is a solid outfield glove but has fallen off in recent years at the plate. The long-time Blue Jays player has been a journeyman since 2019, playing for seven different teams in that span. Pillar is worth the Royals checking on for a minor-league deal with a camp invite, but not much more.
9. Los Angeles Dodgers: Jimmy Nelson
Jimmy Nelson has not pitched in MLB action since late 2021 but should be ready for the 2023 season. If the 34-year-old righty is disenfranchised with the Dodgers organization, a change of scenery should be in order. Nelson posted an amazing season in 2021, with a 1.89 FIP and 13.7 K/9 in 29 innings. The transition from the rotation to the bullpen has been rocky for Nelson, but the Royals could see what Nelson has left this offseason.
10. Miami Marlins: Matt Moore
The Marlins not carrying Matt Moore into the postseason will baffle me for the entirety of the winter. Across three different teams, Moore pitched 52 2/3 innings this season, with a 3.73 FIP and 10.25 K/9. Batters chased his pitches at a 34.9 rate, ranking in the 98th percentile. All the numbers show Moore can still produce at the MLB level. Kansas City should absolutely be interested in the 34-year-old lefty.
11. Milwaukee Brewers: Colin Rea
Have you heard the phrase "beggars can't be choosers"? Well, that goes for the Royals, and starting pitcher Colin Rea is hardly an exciting option, but he still made 22 starts for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2023. His 4.90 FIP is not optimal, and Rea should not be any team's highlight acquisition. But Rea has consistently been a fourth or fifth option in the rotation. If his market does not appear, the Royals should step in with a team-friendly deal.
12. Philadelphia Phillies: Michael Lorenzen
This would have been a big signing if I wrote this three months ago. Michael Lorenzen was spectacular for the Detroit Tigers this year, representing the team in the All-Star Game. He has been far from perfect since joining the Philadelphia Phillies, but should be in line for a multi-year deal in a weak free-agent class. The 31-year-old Lorenzen has not had a negative fWAR season since his debut season, always just being good enough. The Royals could use a safe pitching acquisition to join the rotation, albeit uninspiring.