The Omaha Storm Chasers, the longtime Triple-A affiliate of the KC Royals, cruised to an easy 6-1 road victory over St. Paul Tuesday afternoon, but may be without the services of two players who spurred that win when they face the Saints again Wednesday evening.
Pitcher Daniel Lynch and outfielder Drew Waters, both playing on injury rehab assignments at Omaha, could be with the Royals in Kansas City by the time the Chasers and Saints square off for the second game of their current six-contest series. After Tuesday, both players appear more than ready to return to the Royals, for whom they haven't been able to play this season.
By all appearances, Waters and Lynch appear ready for immediate recall.
Waters, struck by an oblique strain before he played a single spring training game this year, continued the torrid hitting Tuesday he's displayed since starting his Omaha assignment 1-for-22. He went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and scored three times; he's now slashing .327/.377/.653 in his 12 games with the Chasers. That includes a sizzling .555 average since his miserable start.
Lynch, sidelined in spring training by a rotator cuff issue, started and shut out the Saints for six innings before handing the game over to the Omaha bullpen. He struck out five, didn't issue any walks, and gave up only three singles—one in the first inning, one in the second, and another in the fifth. His only bad Omaha outing came last week against Toledo when he yielded five runs in 3.2 innings; he also surrendered two runs in 2.1 innings May 2 in a lone start for Double-A Northwest Arkansas, but has otherwise been solid, going 2-0 with a 3.50 ERA for the Storm Chasers.
The KC Royals should definitely recall Drew Waters and Daniel Lynch
Unless concerns about their injuries linger, the Royals should bring Waters and Lynch back to Kansas City now. Waters was the presumptive starting center fielder before his quad injury, and his hot bat is something manager Matt Quatraro should be eager to have in his lineup. Jackie Bradley Jr.'s glove has been good, and his hitting is showing recent signs of life, but his .156 average still isn't good enough and he isn't a long-term fit for the Royals.
And everyone knows the club's starting rotation is a mess. Lynch could bolster a rotation boasting an 0-8, 7.15 ERA member (Jordan Lyles) and a starter struggling to consistently display the form he had in his 10-5, 3.23 2022 season (Brady Singer), and also save Quatraro from again using an opener in injured Ryan Yarbrough's absence. (The Royals might wait until he's ready to make another start before recalling Lynch—there's no reason to move another hurler off the roster until Lynch is ready for his normal turn).
How would KC make roster room for Waters and Lynch? The team could move Edward Olivares, who's looked awkward in the outfield and is hitting just .235, or send Nate Eaton, who's 3-for-51 this season, back to Omaha, but a Bradley DFA is the most likely way in Waters' case. Absent a trade, general manager J.J. Picollo has more than one KC pitcher he could option to Omaha. But anyone thinking the club might DFA Lyles ignores the two-year, $17 million contract he signed over the winter: Picollo isn't about to give up on that deal just yet, and probably not this season.