Even though the Royals had one of the majors’ least effective rotations in 2019, the rebuilding club has done little to nothing to upgrade that area of its roster. That could change before the season, though. Royals general manager Dayton Moore revealed over the weekend that the team’s still considering free-agent starters, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com writes.
Moore indicated he’s optimistic about the roster as a whole, but he admitted, “I’m not completely comfortable with our starting pitching depth,” in part because the Royals don’t want to rush some of their young arms to the majors. That said, Flanagan points to a few Royals starting prospects – Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch and Jackson Kowar – who could push for a spot in the team’s rotation during camp.
As things stand, the No. 5 role is the lone opening in KC’s starting staff. The Royals are otherwise committed to Brad Keller, Danny Duffy, Jakob Junis and Mike Montgomery from one through four. Keller’s a successful Rule 5er who has enjoyed a pair of respectable seasons since the Royals dug him up. Duffy was once a high-quality starter in his own right, but while Keller has ascended, he has declined of late, hurting his trade value in the process. Junis struggled to keep runs off the board last year (5.24 ERA), but he did manage his second straight season with at least 175 innings. Montgomery didn’t have an especially productive season between the Royals and Cubs, meanwhile, but he was at least somewhat better in Kansas City than Chicago.
Considering the Royals’ present options, there’s no doubt room for improvement. Whether they’ll make an earnest attempt to get better via free agency remains to be seen, but there does appear to be some interesting buy-low candidates on an ever-shrinking open market. Taijuan Walker, Danny Salazar, Matt Harvey and Aaron Sanchez may be the most intriguing choices left, owing to their relative youth (only Harvey’s older than 30) and past success.