Reliever Nick Wittgren
Look, I get that the Royals bullpen is not great as a unit. But, there are some key players dragging the whole group down. One of those players is veteran Nick Wittgren.
Wittgren joined the Royals on Dec. 23, 2022, after a down 2022 season with the St. Louis Cardinals. Still, there was hope for him to bounce back in Kansas City. After all, Wittgren had a solid stretch in Cleveland from 2019-2021 and Royals fans saw him being a solid bullpen contributor for the then-Indians firsthand. In a bullpen that entered the 2023 season with many question marks, Wittgren was supposed to be average at least. Dependable, solid, all the adjectives. But, he has just been plain replaceable.
Wittgren has a 5.27 ERA across 25 games for the Royals this season. That is bad, reliever or starter. He has slightly improved since 2022, but not notably enough to make a visual difference. Fans don't get excited or comfortable seeing Wittgren jog out of the bullpen. To be fair, the velocity is up on nearly all of his pitches. Fastball, changeup, sinker, all of them. Just the results are not showing that improvement. Wittgren may still have some value for a contending team needing depth in the bullpen. There may be something that another team can find in Wittgren, but the Royals cannot. Cutting ties and pulling in a younger replacement is best for all parties.
Replacement players: Noah Murdock, Yefri Del Rosario, Luinder Avila