New KC Royals earn good grades, bad grades at one-third mark

Grading Kansas City's new players.
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Long before his KC Royals barely avoided setting a new club record for losses by winning the last game of the 2023 season, general manager J.J. Picollo's offseason agenda was clear and complicated — he needed to drastically improve the team, and couldn't do it without bringing new blood to Kauffman Stadium.

Amazing is the best way to describe what Picollo accomplished in only his second baseball winter at the helm of Kansas City's baseball operations. Recrafting the Royal roster with a combination of trades, free agent signings, releases, and nontenders, he transformed his club from hapless to contender — despite losing to Tampa Bay Sunday, Kansas City is 34-20 and standing tall in the American League Central, a mere 2.5 games behind division-leading Cleveland with exactly one-third of the season in the books.

Picollo brought aboard almost a dozen new faces before this season started, some who've succeeded and some who haven't. Just how have those players fared, and how should they be graded with two-thirds of the campaign left?

Two offseason acquisitions get DFA'd

Kansas Ci recently designated two new Royals for assignment; as of this writing, one is gone, and one could be soon. We'll give them Incompletes.

Rule 5 Draft selection Matt Sauer received the first DFA a week ago after giving up 14 runs and 23 hits in 16.1 innings. Under Rule 5, the Royals could keep Sauer and send him to the minors only if they couldn't work out a trade for him, he cleared waivers, and the Yankees, who held his rights before the draft, didn't want him. The Yanks took him back Sunday.

The Royals signed Duffey in January but didn't use him often; DFA'd Friday, he'd allowed five runs and walked eight in nine innings.

Moving on...