KC Royals: 4 realistic targets for an innings-eating starter

The KC Royals are reportedly wanting notable improvements in the pitching staff. How can they achieve that via free agency?
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Martín Pérez needs a new home. Could it be Kauffman?

After winning a World Series with the Texas Rangers, Martín Pérez may be looking to cash in on one more multi-year deal. After some regression in 2023, the Royals should at least inquire about the starter.

Pérez was an All-Star in 2022 but did not return to that form in 2023. He was the odd man out once the Rangers traded for Jordan Montgomery and Max Scherzer at the trade deadline. He was very good in relief down the stretch, making 15 appearances out of the bullpen with a 2.70 ERA and a 3 K/BB ratio. But the real money is in the rotation. That is where Pérez is a cheap rotational piece with much to work on.

Pérez made 20 starts for the Rangers last year, with a 4.98 ERA and 69 strikeouts to 41 walks. Those numbers reflect more of a fourth or fifth starter than an upper-half option, but the Royals need to look far and wide for pitching help. He also offers the innings-eating help Kansas City needs, averaging 151 innings pitched in the past three seasons. Pérez could be a double-edged addition, as Kansas City lacks long-relief options out of the bullpen. Most of his bullpen appearances this season were multiple innings, so there is that dynamic.

SportsDFW's Tyler Maher linked Pérez to the Detroit Tigers, citing the team's need for a left-handed starter. The same applies to the Royals, with Daniel Lynch IV missing most of last season and Kris Bubic still recovering from Tommy John surgery. This is a low-ceiling signing, but it would improve the pitching staff nonetheless.