It'll be impossible for the Royals to replace Zack Greinke's production, but the team still needs someone to soak up all those innings he leaves behind. Unsurprisingly, GM Dayton Moore told MLB.com's Dick Kaegel that rotation help is "the only area that we're focusing on," and that adding a starter(s) is his top priority before Spring Training begins.
Kansas City has lost not only Greinke this offseason, but also Bryan Bullington and Brian Bannister to Japan. Bruce Chen, who pitched to a 4.17 ERA in 140 1/3 innings last year, remains a free agent as well, though Moore left the door open to re-signing him. "We're still open-minded with that. He performed very well with us last year and he showed us what he had, and we've got a comfort level there," said the GM.
So far the only starting pitching help the team has imported this offseason is Zach Miner (on a minor league deal) and Vin Mazzaro (from the David DeJesus trade), though Moore said he doesn't expect the former to be ready until about June. He's open to improving his starting staff via trade however, and he has the game's best farm system to use as ammo.
On the free agent front, the Royals have been linked to Carl Pavano and Jeff Francis in recent weeks. Pavano looks to be heading back to the Twins, but Francis remains in play. Brad Penny could also be coming off the board. An interesting solution could be to convert Joakim Soria to a starter, something that close to 2,000 MLBTR readers would support, but so far the team has shown no inclination of making such a move.