names two Angels pitchers to boost KC Royals bullpen

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With the MLB trade deadline rapidly approaching, the KC Royals have some winning to do before they look like certified postseason contenders. Royals executive vice president and general manager J.J. Picollo laid out his approach to this trade deadline, including focusing on the bullpen and outfield. Not many front offices will be more transparent than that, so thanks, Picollo, for making our jobs easier!

Taking that baseball and running with it,'s Mark Feinsand examined five unquestioned sellers this trade deadline and their trade pieces' best fits. The Royals appeared twice on the list, with two Los Angeles Angels pitchers as ideal targets. While neither are the headline moves Royals fans desire, both would undoubtedly raise the relief floor in Kansas City.

Would rental Carlos Estévez provide a high-leverage option for KC Royals?

Feinsand first talks about right-handed pitcher Carlos Estévez, an eight-year MLB veteran from the Dominican Republic. He garnered his first All-Star bid in his debut season in Los Angeles, setting the bar high. Now, with the Halos firmly outside of contention once again and the veteran's pending free agency, a contender will certainly come calling.

"Virtually every contender out there will be looking for bullpen help in the coming weeks, one reason the Angels should consider jumping the market with Estévez, who is earning $6.75 million this season and headed for free agency in the fall. The closer has a 0.79 ERA and .327 OPS allowed in his past 11 outings, successfully converting all seven of his save opportunities. He’s pitched in setup roles in past seasons, making him a prime trade-rental candidate for clubs seeking either a closer or a late-inning bridge to their current ninth-inning man."

Estévez has a long track record of limiting runs, posting three consecutive seasons of sub-4 ERAs and averaging 10.0 K/9 across his 119⅓ innings. He sports the high-velocity fastball fans love, with exceptional control of the pitch as well. Estévez would likely come to Kansas City as the team's de facto closer, with 14 saves of his own in 24 games this season.

Los Angeles will ask for a pretty penny for the reliever, a trade package that could be too rich for Kansas City's blood. But if Kansas City turns things around in the standings, then Estévez would be a valuable addition for the season's latter months.

Will Matt Moore's limited lights-out value entice the KC Royals?

Feinsand's second fit feels lackluster compared to Estévez, but veteran Matt Moore has a limited role that teams could seek out ahead of the trade deadline.

"The Angels signed Moore to a one-year, $9 million deal on Jan. 27, and while the 35-year-old struggled during the first month and a half (7.02 ERA in 16 2/3 innings through May 20), he’s allowed just two earned runs over his past 11 innings (1.64 ERA) dating back to May 21. Moore is still effective against lefties (.191/.292/.357), and he could provide bullpen depth for a contender."

The former All-Star starter made a name for himself in Tampa Bay, but those days are long behind him. He bounced around three teams in 2023 despite his solid numbers, but those have evaporated this season. Moore limits hard contact at an elite rate but struggles to strike out opposing batters, and his xwOBA has steadily climbed from .285 on May 21st to .350 on June 20. That doesn't even account for the five-hit, two-run inning he suffered against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 21.

Moore will rely on a solid defensive team behind him to have success, something that the Angels do not have this season. That fact makes him an acceptable fit in Kansas City, but surrendering any prospect for Moore feels foolhardy. At this rate, Moore is more likely to be designated for assignment than traded ahead of July 30.

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