KC Royals: 3 arbitration players that won't be back for the 2024 season

Kyle Rivas/GettyImages
2 of 4

Taylor Hearn

Projected arbitration salary: $1,700,000

Let's get this one out of the way. There was no positive way to slice reliever Taylor Hearn's time in Kansas City. It started with the Royals acquiring him shortly after he was designated for assignment by sending away fan-favorite Nicky Lopez. That trade happened nearly three months ago, but fans have not forgiven the Royals for that move still.

Hearn had a deep hole to dig out of with Royals fans. He only dug deeper once he took the mound. He made his Royals debut on August 10 in a losing effort against the Boston Red Sox. He allowed his first run two days later against the St. Louis Cardinals, then the wheels fell off a week after he made his debut. All told, Hearn was a net negative pitcher in a Royals uniform.

FanGraphs has a statistic called shutdowns and meltdowns. Shutdowns are good for pitchers when they increase their team's winning percentage by a certain amount. The opposite is meltdowns, where the pitcher is a negative contributor. In Hearn's eight appearances, he had no shutdowns and three meltdowns. That is hardly a positive look.

How can the Royals justify paying him nearly $2 million next season? They can't. He was a below-replacement pitcher with no peripheral metrics to say he would turn things around. Kansas City was his third organization this season for a reason.

The Royals bullpen is bad, but Hearn only made it worse in his limited time.