The KC Royals and 5 forgotten free agents

They're probably unnoticed by many, but FanGraphs lists 5 ex-Royals as Kansas City free agents.

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Outfielders Jackie Bradley Jr. and Franmil Reyes

The Royals signed major leaguers Bradley and Reyes during spring training; neither acquisition should have been considered neat fits for anything but the club's short-term plans.

And that's the way things turned out for both.

Looking for a big bat, Picollo first picked up Reyes, a then-five season big league veteran with proven power. More a designated hitter than anything else, Reyes came to the Royals with 106 big league home runs, including 37 in 2019, 30 two seasons later, and 14 in 2022.

Reyes immediately set Cactus League pitching ablaze and finished spring training with three homers, 12 RBIs, and a .340/.404/.617 line in 18 games. But his Kansas City success ended there: although he opened the season with the Royals, his .186/.231/.288 line forced them to DFA him in early May. He later rejected a minor league outright assignment to Omaha, chose to become a free agent, and hooked on with Washington's Triple-A affiliate, which released him in August.

Spring training injuries to Drew Waters, Brewer Hicklen and Diego Hernandez disrupted and seriously complicated the Royals' 2023 outfield plans and drove Picollo to sign Jackie Bradley Jr. to a minor league deal in early March. Like Reyes, he opened the 2023 season with the big league club; unlike Reyes, he stayed through May and half of June.

That Bradley lasted as long as he did is testament to defensive need, not performance at the plate. Filling in at all three outfield positions, he handled 77 chances without an error, but hit only .133 in 43 games. The Royals released him June 16.

There should be no calls from Picollo to Reyes or Bradley this winter. And in Bradley's case, the issue may be moot — news broke late Saturday that he may retire.

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