The Royals have signed veteran righties Chris Withrow, Al Alburquerque and Brandon League to minor league deals with Spring Training invites, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com writes (Twitter links). Flanagan also notes the minor league signings of pitchers Bobby Parnell and Jonathan Sanchez, which had been previously reported; those two will combine with Withrow, Albuquerque and League to form a long list of formerly effective veterans who could compete for spots on the Royals’ pitching staff.
The 27-year-old Withrow was formerly a first-round pick of the Dodgers. After heading to Atlanta in a six-player deal involving Juan Uribe and Alberto Callaspo, Withrow spent 2016 with the Braves, where he posted a 3.58 ERA and an average fastball velocity approaching the mid-90s, but with an underwhelming 6.7 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 37 2/3 innings. He ended last season with over three years of service time after spending 2015 on the shelf recovering from Tommy John surgery, and the Braves non-tendered him last month.
Alburquerque spent the 2016 season in the Angels and Mariners organizations, appearing briefly in the big leagues with the Angels and posting a 3.74 ERA, 9.4 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 in 33 2/3 innings in the minors. The formerly hard-throwing Tigers reliever has seen his velocity dip to the low 90s in recent seasons. It’s possible some of that velocity drop might have some connection to his contraction of the Chikungunya virus in 2015, however, and the 30-year-old has proven to be an effective, if control-challenged, big-league reliever in the past.
League has not pitched since 2015, or in the big leagues since 2014, after struggling with shoulder trouble. The 33-year-old formerly served as a closer for the Mariners and Dodgers, but the Dodgers released him before the expiration of his three-year, $22.5MM contract with them. He has a 3.65 ERA, 6.3 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in parts of 11 seasons with the big leagues.
I was hoping Al Alburquerque would have signed with the Rockies instead.
Get in the Hawper
Yea they’ve pretty much all had decent success and live arms over their careers. Seems like some good minor league signings, something may click or comeback to live in that batch.
One of best sliders in the game. Surprised KC managed to grab up so many decent guys on miLB deals to stash away. Most teams manage 1-2 of these, rest get stuck with Dana Evelend types as the single sign. here? KC has 5, even Parnell better than Evelend stashed away for a rainy day.
Withrow might be worth it but please>>>>>Big Al, with one of the best sliders in baseball……if only he could throw it for strikes. If this guy couldn’t stick with the Angels who are terribly pitching poor what do you think the Royals know.
And League….what a waste of a roster spot. Out of majors for white some time. You mean they can’t find anybody in their system that can match what he might bring and is cheap?
The Royals are really reaching!
And what do you have against Dana Eveland?
–And what do you have against Dana Eveland?–
Soft tossing, 2 pitch lefties with little control of the k zone, not to mention poor splits vs opposing lefties generally have little chance of success. Much less getting back for long stints to the mlb game. He’s been my “poster child” for a poor milb sign last several years and can be counted on to not disappoint.
Al, Withrow, off talent with electric arms, which is a difference. Sanchez had one at a point in time, as did Parnell. I stick to original statement this 5 lot was a decent sign compared to what some organizations drag in on milb deals and drag into camp.
Might wait on particulars however and see which ones have opt outs by.. Say end of ST-mid April. Some of the decent guys signing these deals won’t want to stick around 1 organization all year stashed away.
Sure, to see Alburquerque pitching in Albuquerque.
Brandon League eh? Should be interesting
Name 3 former players who will be released this year by the royals?
Bill Pecota, Bob “The Hammer” Hamelin, and Daryl Motley.
Love Withrow… Despise League
People who are shocked at Brett Cecil’s 4/31 deal this season should pause and remember League’s 3/23 deal from just a few years ago.
Do they get rave reviews?
These are good low risk high reward signings that all teams get criticized for but could end up being huge parts to a team. I think withrow will be really good this year
I couldn’t agree more. If anything, they provide depth and find out if anything is left in the tank. Albuquerque could be the biggest piece given his was an illness and not any physical or arm trouble. And hey, all of these guys have to be better than Joakim Soria at $7million a year for two more years, right?
I just don’t understand why the Braves didn’t keep Chris Withrow. When he wasn’t being overworked and given regular rest he was rock solid. His only struggles came when he was being asked to pitch 3 or 4 days in a row.
Withrow didn’t pitch 3 days in a row once last year, let alone 4. He had a couple of back to backs, but that was it.
In April he pitched in 4 games in 5 days. In June he pitched in 5 games in 7 days. That’s being overworked IMO. I wonder how much that played a role in his two DL stints. That’s probably the reason the Braves cut him loose.
Yeah those stretches is definitely overworking a guy who’s trying to establish health again. Either it’s not smart management..or it’s brilliant management by identifying that Withrow type relievers are a dime a dozen, thus extendible.
Hopefully they all can play well and help the Royals during the main season. With Davis gone, they need good relievers and set up pitchers.
Don’t be surprised if both Withrow and Maness makes KC’s opening day roster.
I certainly think they have a better chance of doing good things than Mike Minor and Chris Young.