The Royals would still like to add help in either the rotation or the bullpen, tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, but their payroll is elevated to the point where they have very little room for further additions. As such, a reunion with still-lingering free agent Greg Holland seems “extremely remote,” Nightengale adds. Over the past couple of weeks, the Royals have signed Lucas Duda ($3.5MM), Jon Jay ($3MM) and Mike Moustakas ($6.5MM) in a late trio of additions, pushing their payroll up into the $122MM range.
More from the central divisions…
- Francisco Liriano has been vying for a job in either the Tigers’ bullpen or rotation, and Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press writes that it seems like he’s set to open the year as the team’s fifth starter. Manager Ron Gardenhire spoke confidently of Liriano’s ability to hold down one of those five spots. “As a veteran, experienced arm, I fully expect him to be in our rotation if he’s healthy and doing what he can do,” said Gardenhire. With Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, Mike Fiers, and the out-of-options Matt Boyd all seeming likely to hold down rotation spots as well, that could very well be a signal that southpaw Daniel Norris is ticketed for Triple-A Toledo to open the season.
- Right-hander Alex Cobb is the last of the top free-agent starters who remains unsigned, and the Brewers have long been considered a fit for the righty. But Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweets that he doesn’t expect Milwaukee to make a play for Cobb unless his asking price drops further. Milwaukee has been cited all winter long as a team that needs starters, but to date has only given guaranteed money to Jhoulys Chacin (two-years, $15.5MM) while also picking up Wade Miley and Yovani Gallardo on minor-league deals.
- Given their stance on Cobb, it seems the Brewers will see how things shake out with their current rotation mix while hoping that the anticipated mid-season return of Jimmy Nelson provides a boost. That strategy will require good health for the existing starters. Fortunately, right-hander Zach Davies looks to have moved past the minor oblique strain which was plaguing him. MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy tweets that Davies pitched three innings in an intrasquad game, seemingly setting him up to ramp up in time to open the season at full strength.