Why the KC Royals can't risk saying 'No' to James McArthur

The reliever is making his case.

Bob Levey/GettyImages
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Welcome back to Kings of Kauffman's 2024 KC Royals player projection series. Between now and Opening Day, we'll be reviewing the 2023 performances of various Royals and predicting how they'll fare this season. Up today is promising relief pitcher James McArthur.

James McArthur is a talented, impressive, up-and-coming reliever Kansas City luckily picked up in last season's trade that sent outfielder Junior Marin to Philadelphia and brought McArthur to Kansas City. And he made fans take notice when he dominated opponents during last season's final month. His future with the organization seems bright and secure.

There is, however, one thing those fans need to forget about McArthur, and that's the first game he pitched as a Royal — and a major leaguer — in late June. It was an ugly disaster, the type of performance the memory of which only subsequent and sustained success can extinguish.

James McArthur's first big league outing was terrible

The debacle has been well-chronicled, an excruciatingly detailed feature of so many stories since written about McArthur. Suffice it to say here that in just an inning against Cleveland, he gave up seven runs (none of them unearned), six hits, a home run, and a walk. His first trip to the majors soon ended.

He returned to Kansas City for a short August stint, but giving up five runs in six innings soon had him on the road back to Triple-A Omaha. A Sept. 1 recall gave him his third big league shot of the season.

And that's when he took the first steps toward making the club and its fans forget that awful June game against the Guardians...