Dec. 28: The Royals have officially announced their deal with Lyles.
Dec. 20: Lyles has a two-year, $17MM deal with the Royals, tweets Feinsand. The agreement also contains performance bonuses and is still pending the completion of a physical, tweets Andy Kostka of the Baltimore Banner.
Dec. 19: The Royals are nearing agreement on a contract with free agent starter Jordan Lyles, reports Jon Heyman of the New York Post (Twitter link). It’s likely to be a two-year contract for the Ballengee Group client, reports Mark Feinsand of MLB.com (on Twitter).
Assuming the deal eventually pushes across the finish line, it’ll be the eighth MLB organization for Lyles. The former first-rounder and top prospect has moved around the league in journeyman fashion, securing numerous opportunities on the strength of his durability and a strong clubhouse reputation. Lyles has made 28-plus starts in each of the past three full seasons, entirely avoiding the injured list since June 2019.
The right-hander doesn’t post especially eye-opening numbers on a rate basis. He’s pitched parts of 12 seasons in the majors and never managed an ERA below 4.00, allowing more than five earned runs per nine innings in eight years. Some of that is attributable to difficult environments, as he’s spent multiple seasons calling hitter-friendly venues like Coors Field and Globe Life Field home. Yet he also consistently runs lower than average strikeout rates, and the significant number of balls in play has helped lead to a 5.10 ERA through more than 1300 career innings.
To his credit, Lyles is coming off one of the better seasons of his career. Signed to a $7MM guarantee by Baltimore last offseason, he ably filled the role of ’innings-eating veteran’ on an otherwise young pitching staff. Lyles took the ball all 32 times for the O’s, ranking 29th in the majors with 179 innings pitched. He threw strikes and posted a reasonable 4.42 ERA in arguably the game’s most hitter-friendly division. Lyles walked just 6.7% of batters faced this year, nearly a percentage point lower than the league average and his lowest rate since his 2011 rookie season.
The 32-year-old wasn’t overpowering. He averaged 91.8 MPH on his fastball while posting lower than average strikeout and swinging strike marks (18.6% and 9.3%, respectively). He was hit hard to a .278/.347/.500 clip by left-handed hitters, while he held same-handed opponents to a more manageable .275/.318/.418 line. Fielding independent metrics like FIP (4.40) and SIERA (4.36) generally pegged his production right in line with his actual run prevention mark.
Lyles performed as well as the Orioles could’ve reasonably anticipated at the time they signed him, logging plenty of serviceable but slightly below-average innings. Nevertheless, Baltimore paid him a $1MM buyout in lieu of an $11MM option at the start of the offseason. They reallocated the $10MM to fellow veteran Kyle Gibson, who inked a one-year free agent deal after a season and a half in Philadelphia. Dan Connolly of the Athletic wrote this evening that Baltimore had cursory conversations with Lyles about a potential reunion — presumably at a lower price point — but talks never advanced beyond the initial stages.
Instead, Lyles looks as if he’ll head to Kansas City to play the same role he did in Baltimore. The Royals have a young pitching staff that’s light on certainty. Brady Singer looks to have at least emerged as a mid-rotation starter after posting a 3.23 ERA across 153 1/3 innings. He’s the only of the Royals’ stable of talented young arms to do so thus far, as players like Daniel Lynch, Kris Bubic and Carlos Hernández haven’t found much consistency.
Adding some veteran stability to the mix seemed to be a priority for general manager J.J. Picollo and his front office. They’ve targeted the lower tiers of the free agent rotation market to that end. Last week, Kansas City inked southpaw Ryan Yarbrough to a $3MM guarantee. It seems they’ll follow with Lyles, bringing in two experienced arms to raise the unit’s floor. Singer, Lyles and Yarbrough seem as if they’ll take spots in the season-opening rotation, while players like Lynch, Bubic, Hernández and Brad Keller may jostle for roles at the back end.
Financial terms under discussion aren’t yet clear, though Lyles doesn’t figure to break the bank. Roster Resource projects K.C. for a player payroll around $79MM, a fair bit shy of last year’s season-opening mark in the $94MM range. The Royals could further clear some spending room by contemplating trades of arbitration-eligible players like Keller, Scott Barlow or Adalberto Mondesi or a deal involving center fielder Michael A. Taylor, who’s guaranteed $4.5MM in the second season of a two-year extension.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.
Little Stevie Janowsky
Dang I was hoping the blue jays would sign him and put berries or kikuchi in the bullpen. Our rotation is unacceptable rn and more moves need to be made
No team in the world would sign Jordan Lyles and move Jose Berrios to the bullpen. Are you okay dude?
Unless you mean actually sprinkling berries in the bullpen. Then, sure that’s cool I guess
Berries on Kikuchi in the bullpen?
You’re not supposed to put berries in kikuchi. See a doctor.
Not in. On. You’re right though 🙂
It sounds like terrible painting name. I call this smear of brown “berries on Kikuchi”. It represents the fact he throws dingleberries to home plate.
Are you . . . Bob Ross? 🙂 Rumor is Berries On Kikuchi is Sherwin Williams 2023 color of the year. Please act surprised when you hear the announcement. Shhhh . . . 🙂
You’re supposed to put the lime in the coconut, and drink them both together.
He’s fine because according to the article a team does want to sign him. Are you ok?
Little Stevie Janowsky
Berrios had almost a 6 era last year he’s not a starter in the Al East he’s best used as a swing man.
Then they should torpedo the contract after 1 year for a player that is older and produces just as poorly, but more consistently?
Berrios had one bad year, he’s done. Let’s get lyles. He’s like Berrios’ worst year, but every year!
Berrios albatross contract…left to pay out:
2023: $15.7 million
2024: $17.7 million
2025: $18.7 million
2026: $18.7 million (can opt out after 2026)
2027: $24.7 million
2028: $24.7 million
Yikes that’s not pretty.
To much money.
Berrios is the worst “good pitcher” I’ve ever seen. Career ERA well over 4. I don’t get the hype with this guy. Never have.
Power pitchers tend to do better in the playoffs, but SP that heavily rely on sliders tend to have serious injury concerns… Twins did a good job of selling high.
I don’t think any team would put Kikuchi in the bullpen over Lyles, let alone Berrios. As mediocre as Kikuchi is, he’s a serviceable #4 or 5 who gets a ton of strikeouts and the occasional excellent outing.
Jesus H Christ, the level of poor spelling, missing punctuation, and wrong use of words in this sub-thread is astounding. And its not just one person….
…my grammar isnt perfect, but this wasnt even an attempt by some….
WTH you forgot the apostrophe!
I like this move for both sides. Royals get an innings eater and lyles gets a nice home ball park in a weak division to really rebuild any value
You can’t get a more pitcher friendly park than Baltimore’s. He had to have pit he’d about half of his starts there so how he would up with an awful 4.42 ERA is beyond me.
I like the move also because Lyles was an average prospect who made it to the majors and who since then has stayed in the majors for over a decade as a starting pitcher. I don’t recall Lyles ever being mentioned as having a high upside the way some of the young Royals pitchers such as Lynch, Bubic, or Kowar had been promoted. Perhaps these so far underachieving young Royals pitchers can learn from a pitcher with an average arm like Lyles what it takes to be considered a success in the majors over a period of years.
Little Stevie Janowsky
He was a top 30 prospect in baseball in 2011 and debuted at 20 what are you talking about.
Is there any value in eating innings if they’re all subpar? I suppose someone has to be on the mound for some Royals games.
The Royals love subpar innings eater for their “pitcher friendly” ballpark. This should help out his career ERA drop from 5.10 to 5.09.
The Royals need innings eaters to get through the next 2-3 years while they build their new stadium and allow young pitchers to develop in the minors instead of rushing them to bigs to get clobbered and their confidence ruined. It’s the only hope….but they have to find some way to sell this to the fans who only seem to get a decent team every 25-30 years. If they aren’t careful, they’re going to get run out of town.
Pirates tried that, and they failed miserably.
Assuming this happens, wonder if it takes the Royals out of the Greinke equation.
I sure hope so because I want Greinke back in Anaheim.
Brewers, Dodgers have joined the chat.
The fact that we’ve heard nothing about Grienke so far and that he was considering retirement at the end of last season does make you wonder if he plans on playing next year
Darn I sure hope that doesn’t end up being the case Rsox. Greinke is a strange duck though so if he does retire he probably isn’t gonna let anyone know for at least 5-6 years.
He’ll announce his retirement during his Hall of Fame induction speech
ERA of 5.10. What a ridiculous signing. Makes no sense.
I just browsed his baseball reference statistics, yikes. How does this guy keep getting lucrative contracts? 1326 innings -1.4 WAR and Era + 83
Only in America
$35 Million. Baseball has been very very good to him.
Jacob deGrom has also thrown 1326 innings. Lyles has given up twice as many runs, so therefore he could be seen as half the pitcher deGrom is. deGrom signed for 5 years $185M so using this logic Lyles should get 5 years $92.5M………..or maybe not lol. The bright side is he has a history of staying healthy, he’s going 5 innings and giving up 3 runs.
DeGrom Texas Ranger
This is the worst take ever. So a guy with a .500 OPS should get half of Judge’s contract? Minor leaguers would get 9 years/180. I assume this is a joke, but still… this had to be said.
Innings are valuable. Being able to take the ball every 5th day, is something few pitchers are able to do.
Yeah, but it’s only the second time in his career he’s made 30+ starts or pitched 150+ innings.
Poor pitching like this making millions is just another argument against expansion.
This is the state of the game when pitchers like Lyles and Gibson are rewarded for consistent mediocrity. I suppose their value lies in availability. The bar is so low right now that practically any pitcher who is still standing can get a gig somewhere, and these guys aren’t even the lowest tier. You have the Shelby Millers of the league who keep getting work despite YEARS of horrific performance.
Chaim just blew another one smh.
Haha. Chaim Bloom man on a mission: wreck the Red Sox
Mission: Bankrupt and Destory.
Lyles would get lit up pitching in Fenway and we never even heard the Sox being linked to him. Every single player that signs elsewhere is not necessarily because “Chaim blew another one”
Plus, they would be better off bringing Wacha back rather than Lyles
Yeah that was meant to be tongue-in-cheek sarcastic, I should have put an emoji at the end or something. Bloom signing Lyles for an overpay would have been just too over the top for belief. But just barely.
Sarcasm get it? Chaim Bloom losing on FA’s is a running JOKE. Nobody wants Lyles….well except the Royals.
Can think of it this way: unlike the Correa or Bogaerts contract where the team would probably regret the last 3-4 years, the Royals only would only regret the last two years of this one.
Did we bring Dayton Moore back?
Zachary D Manprin
Career -1.4 WAR. Career 83 ERA+. He’s made $35 Million in his career. You would think he’s left-handed. Dozens of guys in AAA look at him and wonder how he continues to get work season after season. While they languish in mediocrity…Lyles thrives as less than mediocre.
Bauer? But I Hardly Know Her!
Glad someone said it. I’m flummoxed.
He was outstanding for two months in 2019. Decent in 2022 and 2014. Don’t look at the rest of the back of his baseball card. That said, he’s getting out of the AL East. He will eat some innings. I wish him the best.
Lyles and Yarbrough may provide a floor for the KC pitching staff, but I don’t know if it actually raises it.
Why does it seem Heyman gets like 90% of the scoops? And how do they get divvyed up so all the major baseball journos get at least a couple scoops? It seems like it would be a weird & awkward process. Like let’s say a handshake deal has occurred between Boras and Cohen, and so they’re trying to decide who to spill the exciting news to first, could it be something like “Hey I got that pest Heyman blowing up my phone every 5 minutes , should we just tell him?” “No No he’s had plenty of scoops , give it to poor Passan so he doesn’t feel ignored.”
“Oh for Pete’s sake, is that Rosenthal I see peeping thru the window? Well hell he’s already tweeted it then, nvm.” ETC ETC ETC ….or seems kinda like an incestuous relationship the “official” journos have with the agents/owners. Cushy job if you can get it I guess.
ISOB, You are closer to the truth than you realize!
Heyman likely works the phones harder and develops the proper relationships compared to many other reporters. Also some quid pro quo, with Heyman leaking information from an agent to pump up a free agent, and in return he’ll be given some advance on other signings at a later date. He’s been around a long time, so front offices and agents trust him more. It’s a bit of a game that certain reporters play better than others.
John Rocker Fan Club
This guy is the modern day Jeff Suppan.
Suppan is offended by the comparison.
Suppan couldn’t stay healthy. Not a good comparison.
Suppan made at least 30 starts per season 11 seasons in a row and you say he couldn’t stay healthy?
Suppan was a beast in the postseason. Uneducated tard. Probably a sabremetric expert..
Bauer? But I Hardly Know Her!
He only finds jobs with teams like BAL or KC because the KBO isn’t interested.
Lyles parlayed a solid 11 start stretch with the Brewers at the end of the 2019 season into a pair of two year deals with a one year deal in-between. The ability to pitch well as a backend starter there, it just being able to get the most out of him. The Brewers did so other teams think they can as well
His home/road splits as an O should be a significant red flag to any team looking to sign him. Three years of home/road splits are generally needed for any meaningful analysis, yet we only have one as an Oriole. The O’s moved their LF fences back into another state in 2022, so it went from a hitter’s park to a pitcher’s park. An ERA of approximately 3.50 at home, but 5.25 on the road. Of his 26 HRs surrendered, only six at home, but 20 on the road. The Royals are likely about to sign a pitcher who may give them a 5.00+ ERA. Getting away from the AL East will help some, but it will be more than countered by losing Camden as his home park. Have no idea what the Royals see here.
Just eats innings. Has good games and terrible ones. Always takes the ball. Hasn’t changed much since he was highly touted and came up with Altuve and JD Martinez thru Stros system. Had a little more juice back then but he is a gamer.
A number of guys can “eat innings” and take the ball every 5 days for a LOT less money. Even Chris Volstad has a lower ERA, with a much lower XFIP because of always playing for horrible teams and has never missed a pitching assignment due to injury. It’s incredible that this 5.10 ERA guy keeps getting signed for that suggested ridiculous salary.
I’ve had some trade interest to, to trade $3 for some pizza.
DeGrom Texas Ranger
2 years 1.6 million? Anything over that is likely an overpay.
Can you really call a guy an innings-eater if he almost never gets past the 6th inning?
Oof. Way too much money. I’m not as concerned with having Lyles. I’m more concerned about what the Royals can’t/won’t do now that they’ve spent that much.
I am starting to miss Dayton
DeGrom Texas Ranger
How was Lugo cheaper??? This makes even a trashy guy like Martin Perez seem underpaid. That is saying a lot.
That’s an extremely generous bounce back contract for Lyles. But basically they’re paying him the value of 1 WAR for a starting pitcher, so despite his pretty ugly stats, he’s getting paid his exact market value.
Man, baseball is lucrative even if you’re mediocre at the major league level-especially if you’re a pitcher.
This guy only wants to pitch on teams that won’t make the playoffs.
Or, teams who want to make the playoffs won’t employ a Jordan Lyles.
lol yeah that is more likely.
At his best, Jordan Lyles is like an automatic “quality start” 6IP 3ER, etc. He will keep a good offensive team in games, and give his team a decent enough chance to win.
As a fifth starter, and one who eats up innings, it could certainly be worse..
Mendoza Line 215
Sorry,this contract shows the typical insanity of baseball’s current status.
And from a small market team no less.
This guy generally hops around from team to team but improves no one,just eats innings.
I find it hard to believe that there are no comparable pitchers for far less on one year deals,or young pitchers who deserve a chance.
Thought he did a fine job for for the O’s. Gave them stability and leadership. Exactly what he was signed for. Hope he succeeds with the Royals.
Good Lord, 2 years?!? Signing this guy for 2 years says you don’t care about your fanbase. Royals should be looking to upgrade the staff. I figured Cincinnati would sign Lyles since they’re nowhere near trying to compete anytime soon
In nurse follars
The price for marginal pitching is absurd. Teams that develop their own depth have the best idea. If only it were easy.
Stick this long in the league with those numbers and you’ve got intangibles on a Ruthian level.
I’ve often wondered how pitchers with lifetime ERA’s over 5.00 last 12 years in the big leagues and get multiyear contracts for millions of dollars. Bizarre.