General manager J.J. Picollo has made no secret that this off-season he must find pitching depth. As a recent article by Matthew LaMar of Royals Review highlighted, Kansas City has the lowest surplus trade value in the majors, a fact that hinders trading in this modern market. The KC Royals simply do not have the assets to trade for pitchers; other franchises might consider them starters right now. While they may be able to obtain pitches on the free agent market, they only have about $30 million available. That is not going to buy them much.
Therefore, in order for Kansas City to improve its pitching depth, it will have to mine the ranks of the minors as well as search through cast-off veterans, perhaps even stocking up on injured pitchers in order to build a team that can compete in 2025 and after. This means identifying teams that have a large number of minor-league pitchers or are carrying a lot of injured veterans. Could Pittsburgh be that team?
The KC Royals could dive into Pittsburgh's deep pitcher pool
Former Royals manager Ned Yost once joked about the third base tree in Kansas City or the lack thereof. Well, unlike Kansas City's third base tree, Pittsburgh does have a large pool of pitchers. MLB's 2023 Prospect Rankings of the Pirates featured 12 pitchers among their top 15 prospects. Pittsburgh has called a few of these prospects up, such as starter Mike Burrows, but most of their top prospects remain in the minors following the season.
In the Royals' favor, Pittsburgh has taken some hits to their major league roster due to Tommy Johns injuries. One of these injured pitchers could be a potential trade target for the Royals to stash with eyes on competing in 2025. Pittsburgh, in need of starting pitchers now, could consider Brady Singer a viable 2024 option. Singer is entering his second arbitration year and will be progressively more expensive over the next three seasons. The Pirates could be a good landing spot.