KC Royals News: Waiver frenzy, September call-ups, more

The club continues to lose, but still makes other news.
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In another season, one far different from this horrendous campaign, the KC Royals might be tempted to pluck a plum or two from a major league waiver wire that, relatively quiet until it suddenly began sizzling Tuesday afternoon, reportedly abounds with players who might be capable of helping new clubs down the stretch.

Lucas Giolito is apparently there, together with several of his teammates from the Angels, Mike Clevinger from the White Sox, José Cisnero of the Tigers, and the Yankees' Harrison Bader.

Could the Royals use someone new? Certainly ... what team burdened by 93 losses with more than a month left in the season couldn't?

This isn't the time, though. Kansas City needs to sit this waiver frenzy out.

The reasons are simple. Because the newly available players are predominantly eligible for free agency when the World Series ends, claiming clubs are guaranteed their services for only a month, and the playoffs for those teams lucky enough to snare postseason spots. That makes claiming any of them especially risky for the Royals, who can't legitimately woo any free agents with promises of imminent contention.

Then there's the money, a commodity the frugal Royals shouldn't spend on rental pieces. This isn't a club needing a player or two to get over the playoff hump; instead, it's on a depressing path toward a new franchise single-season loss record with no realistic off-ramp in sight. Spending money on the waiver wire — the Royals would be obligated to pay the remaining 2023 salary of anyone they might acquire on a claim or claims — would be wasting cash they could conceivably use to sign someone, like a decent starter or reliever, this winter.

A Triple-A pitcher has made his case to be a KC Royals September call-up

While Cole Ragans put on another dazzling pitching show at Kauffman Stadium Tuesday night by striking out nine, giving up just three hits, and shutting out Pittsburgh for seven innings before the Kansas City bullpen threw away another game, Anthony Veneziano solidified the argument that the club should make him one of its September promotions.

Although the Omaha lefthander wasn't perfect in his start against Louisville, Veneziano was pretty solid — despite giving the Bats three runs in the third inning, he held them scoreless in the first, second, fourth and fifth before leaving a tie game with one out in the sixth of the contest the Storm Chasers eventually won.

His Tuesday evening effort was another nice start for Veneziano. He began the season at Double-A Northwest Arkansas and earned his May promotion to Omaha by going 5-1 with a 2.13 ERA in eight games. He's 4-3, 4.30 in 14 starts and one relief appearance with Omaha, and 9-4, 3.50 overall.

That Veneziano, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the franchise's 17th-best prospect, deserves to spend the final full month of the season with the Royals was clear in July. Now, the club just needs to give him a call Friday when it can add two players to the active roster.

Another KC Royals pitching prospect made a mark Tuesday night

Veneziano wasn't the only KC minor league hurler who had his moments Tuesday. Frank Mozzicato, who the club selected in the first round of the 2021 amateur draft and Pipeline rates at its fourth-best prospect, started and pitched five innings for High-A Quad Cities in the River Bandits' 7-5 victory over Peoria. Most impressive were his seven strikeouts, and he allowed the Chiefs only an unearned run and two hits.

Concerning, however, is Mozzicato's continuing battle with his control. He walked six and now has a 6.27 BB/9 in 20 starts spread across Single-A Columbia, where he started the season, and Quad Cities. He's also surrendered 25 earned runs in 32.2 innings since the Kansas City organization bumped him up to the River Bandits.

Unlike Veneziano, Mozzicato isn't anywhere near major league readiness. He's still a work in progress, but expect him to harness his control, and look for his big league debut in 2025.

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