Dutton On Royals’ Free Agent Starter Search

I recently named the Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton as Rumor Royalty for the Royals.  He was kind enough to answer a few questions for the site.

MLBTR: It seems pretty clear the Royals are going to sign a veteran starter.  They’ve been linked to Bartolo Colon, Jon Lieber, Kris Benson, and others who have signed elsewhere.  Who do you see as the best fit for this team?

Dutton: The guy they really wanted was Hiroki Kuroda, and I’m pretty sure they tendered the top bid before he signed with the Dodgers. They liked Carlos Silva but not at his asking price. That leaves, primarily, guys who are trying to recover from major injuries. In short, guys who really aren’t good fits for anyone.

Even so, I think the Royals will continue to try to sign one. I believe Colon is their top choice, but he’s asking for $8-9 million and is looking for a multi-year deal. I think he’s kidding himself. Maybe someone will bite, but I’ll be real surprised if the Royals do.

The Royals are like most every other team looking at these guys: they’re willing to build in lots of performance bonuses, but they’ll want to protect them by insisting on a low guarantee. What they can offer that others can’t, they believe, is the likelihood of greater patience.

These guys all need to pitch to rebuild their careers, and they’re likely to have some rough stretches. The Royals would probably be willing to stick with them longer than most other clubs. They also play in a fairly big ballpark, which is forgiving to fly-ball pitchers, and have pretty good infield defense to benefit ground-ball pitchers.

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