KC Royals should not be holding their breath waiting for the Royals free agency shoe to drop. The club was notoriously late to the party last season, albeit after big front office and coaching changes. Kansas City would have to defy some long-standing trends to be on free agency frontlines, as fans want them to be. All this waiting has this writer wondering; what are the Royals looking for in a pitcher?
The KC Royals need to make moves by signing pitchers in free agency.
The team already made two notable pitching acquisitions this offseason, both from the Atlanta Braves. Reliever Nick Anderson and starter Kyle Wright have differing uses in 2024 and beyond but have a common trait. Sure, both played for Royals general manager J.J. Picollo's former employer in Atlanta. Both are right-handed pitchers, that is true. But their premiere pitch, the curveball, could be key to what Kansas City wants in a pitcher.
Wright, Anderson, and other trade acquisition James McArthur rely heavily on the curveball. According to Baseball Savant, those three throw a curveball the most out of their pitching arsenal. Even Cole Ragans throws the pitch 12.5% of the time as a starter. It is not Ragans' best pitch but it is at least league-average.
Could this be a coincidence? Sure. But, the fact that multiple pitchers the Royals have acquired rely on the curveball is hard to ignore. That could be a key to what the Royals want in a new pitcher, aligning with their strategy a bit better. Thankfully, there are plenty of starting pitchers with above-average curveballs that are on the free-agent market. There are even more relievers with that same trait.
I want to take a better look at the pitchers on the open market and see which have that pitch as a primary or secondary offering. But an initial look shows some good veteran options who used curveballs a ton in 2022. That is a possible trait that Royals fans should be aware of , at the very least.