Tying up some loose KC Royals ends while wondering what the busy club will do next...
Two starts into his 2023 season, a decidedly short sample size to be sure, it seemed Kris Bubic might have been turning the corner for the KC Royals. Drafted by the club in 2018 along with a collection of promising pitchers some believed primed to become the best pitching draft class in franchise history, Bubic had been disappointing since breaking into the majors during the 2020 pandemic-truncated campaign.
He brought an unsightly 10-26 record and control problems into 2023; half of his losses came in 2022, when he went 3-13 with a 5.58 ERA (73 ERA+) in 27 appearances. But he looked much better in his first start this year — although he took the loss in his club's 4-1 defeat at Toronto's hands, he struck out four, walked only one, and surrendered just two runs in five innings.
His next start five days later was even better. He fanned nine without walking a single batter, and allowed San Francisco only two hits in six innings. The Royals lost 3-1, but through no fault of Bubic.
His next outing, though, was far different than his first two. Atlanta punished him for five runs on 10 hits in five innings. His record dropped to 0-2; something seemed to be wrong.
And it was. Bubic's season ended then and there with a Tommy John Surgery-necessitating UCL injury, rendering his initially-promising start to the campaign all but meaningless.
The Royals, though, haven't lost faith in Bubic. They could have released him but didn't; instead, the club announced Tuesday that it had reached an arbitration side-stepping new contract with the lefthander that means he'll be a Royal when he's ready to pitch again. MLB.com Royals beat writer Anne Rogers reports the deal is worth $2.35 million.
The Royals make a move to create roster space for Hunter Renfroe
Acquiring free agent outfielder Hunter Renfroe, which Kansas City did last week, required the club to make room for him on its 40-man roster. And removing someone from that roster was the only way to do it.
That someone turned out to be pitcher Max Castillo, who the Royals designated for assignment Tuesday. Castillo was 0-3 with a 6.69 ERA in 12 games with the Royals since joining the organization via the 2022 trade deadline deal that sent Whit Merrifield to Toronto. He was also 1-1, 8.44 in seven games at Triple-A Omaha in 2022, and 6-7, 4.58 in 22 outings there this year.
Former Kansas City prospect signs for 2024
The late 2019 trade with the Yankees that brought pitcher Chance Adams to the Royals was fraught with risk. Adams had been a top-tier New York prospect before elbow issues and corrective surgery appeared to get in his way. And perhaps predictably, Adams' time in the KC organization wasn't spectacular.
Yes, he made the big league roster in 2020 and worked 4.1 scoreless innings over three of his six appearances. But his other three games weren't good — over another 4.1 frames, he surrendered nine runs, leading to an unfortunate 9.35 ERA.
Adams had to have Tommy John Surgery after the season and didn't pitch in the majors at all and only six times on minor league rehab assignments in 2021. He became a free agent after the season, didn't appear in the minors or majors in 2022, then caught on with Colorado and went 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 31 games for the Rockies' Triple-A affiliate this year.
Now, and as Tanner Vogt reports at our sister FanSided site Roxpile, Adams is returning to Colorado on a minor league contract.