Despite an exhilarating extra-inning, come-from-behind 4-3 victory over Cleveland Thursday, the KC Royals are still struggling to avoid becoming the worst team in the majors. Only Oakland, at 21-62, isn't better than Kansas City, and with a record of 23-58 at the season's mathematical halfway point, the Royals reaching 25 wins in the 10 games they have left to play before the All-Star Break isn't the given it should be.
That the club isn't an offensive juggernaut is no secret. Nor is the chronic inconsistency of a pitching staff riddled with injuries and short on talent. And the cumulative effect of those two glaring problems explains why this team is on pace to lose 116 games, 10 more than any other in its long history.
The Royals are also plagued by troublesome relief work. Through Thursday, for example, their bullpen's 5.24 ERA bests only Oakland's and Colorado's. Kansas City's is a relief corps certain to change soon, with an Aroldis Chapman trade deadline deal almost a foregone conclusion and the definite possibility that this will, as it probably should be, the season the club deals closer Scott Barlow.
Adding another reliever is one change some might encourage Kansas City to make. Somewhat surprisingly, the Royals have only one true reliever, Chapman, among the three lefties on their current 26-man roster—Daniel Lynch is in the starting rotation and it appears Austin Cox's role may be fluid after he pitched out of the pen six times and then started (and lost) against Cleveland Wednesday night.
Interestingly, it just so happens that a former Royal may be available.
Should the KC Royals think about a reunion with reliever Anthony Misiewicz?
At first blush, this question might seem strange. Misiewicz owns, after all, a sky-high 8.64 ERA in eight games with Arizona and another seven with Detroit this season, and the Tigers designated him for assignment Thursday, giving them a week to trade him or try to get him through waivers should they envision attempting to outright him to the minors. He remained on the DFA list late Thursday night.
That excessive ERA might disqualify Misiewicz from consideration if not for the fact he pitched as a Royal last season; his 4.11 ERA wasn't ideal for a reliever, and he wasn't stellar, but he gave the club serviceable innings, a commodity the team may need more of after the trade deadline.
But is Misiewicz worth it? Considering his four-season career 4.74 ERA, trading another player or players for him isn't an optimal approach, but a waiver claim might be reasonable.
At the end of the day, though, Kansas City should pass on an opportunity they might have to bring Misiewicz back. They have plenty of relievers in their own system they should look at first during the evaluation season principal owner John Sherman reaffirmed his club is in just Thursday.