KC Royals general manager J.J. Picollo, consistently under fire this winter for what many considered a series of unspectacular and disappointing moves that defied impressions he'd be more significantly transactional than Dayton Moore, went about the business this week of destroying any notion that, those moves made, he'd stand pat.
A quiet, quintessential under-the-radar-type deal, one certainly easy to miss, opened the week when the club signed pitcher Taylor Bloye, whose previous claim to attention was spending the last few years playing for independent league teams before catching on with Kansas City and going 1-1 with a 4.71 ERA in five Arizona Complex League games last summer. The organization released him in October, but he's back with it after inking a minor league deal.
Much bigger moves followed. Gold Glove center fielder Michael A. Taylor was dealt to Minnesota for relievers Evan Sisk and Steven Cruz a day after Bloye signed, and the Royals ended infielder Adalberto Mondesi's injury-tortured tenure in KC at midweek by sending him to Boston for reliever Josh Taylor.
And in two Friday moves, the club confirmed its previously-reported signing of reliever Aroldis Chapman and signed veteran major league infielder Matt Duffy to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.
A pair of former KC Royals pitchers are joining Dayton Moore in Texas.
Speaking of players named Duffy, Major League Baseball Trade Rumors reported Friday evening that Texas has signed former Royal Danny Duffy to a minor league contract. Per the same report, the Rangers had previously acquired former KC hurler Ian Kennedy.
Kennedy, who also pitched for Texas in 2021, joined the Royals as a starter in 2016 and went 11-11, 3.68 in 33 starts. That was the same season Duffy pitched his way to a new five-year, $65 million contract by winning 12 of 15 decisions. Both pitchers have experienced ups and downs since: Kennedy didn't cut it as a starter after 2016, saved 30 games for KC after moving to the bullpen in 2019, then found himself displaced as closer in 2020, first by Trevor Rosenthal and then by Greg Holland. Duffy never pitched consistently well after signing his new deal and hasn't pitched in the majors since 2021.
Their new deals reunite them with former Kansas City executive Dayton Moore, who now serves as a senior advisor for the Rangers.
A new rumor suggests the KC Royals may not be Zack Greinke's only suitor.
Will Kansas City re-sign starter Zack Greinke? That's been a major club question since last season ended and Greinke, who was 4-9, 3.68 and by all accounts a hit with the Royals' young pitchers, became a free agent after returning to KC on a one-year deal.
That question remained unanswered through Friday, although there still appears to be strong mutual interest in another reunion. Now, however, Picollo may have to battle another team for Greinke's services: Baltimore is reportedly thinking about the veteran righthander.
Kansas City, though, seems the best fit for Greinke, who at 39 will enter his 20th big league season unless he chooses to retire. Hard to fathom is the idea of Greinke heading for a new club as his career winds down, especially considering his ties to the Royals and his solid relationships with his 2022 teammates.
Top KC Royals prospect Gavin Cross recently landed on a Top 100 list.
Kansas City snared what it wanted and needed last summer when the club selected college outfielder Gavin Cross with its first pick in the amateur draft. Cross signed immediately and excelled in his first professional season, slashing a combined .312/.437/.633 with eight homers and 25 RBIs in 29 games split between the Arizona Complex League and Low-A Columbia.
That rookie performance made Cross the organization's current No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline. And Thursday, Pipeline ranked him as the game's 62nd-best prospect.
Keep an eye on this space for more Royals news.