The Royals boasted one of Major League Baseball's best bullpens in 2013, and they have no shortage of in-house replacements in the event of a trade. That surplus is one of the reasons that rival executives have told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that right-hander Aaron Crow and lefty Tim Collins "are very available" in trades. Said one official:
"Those are the guys they’d like to trade because they’re going to start to make a little bit of money. But the key thing for them is they have a lot of other guys ready to step in…guys who might be even better."
The Royals are also willing to at least entertain the thought of parting with prized closer Greg Holland, though according to Dutton they would need a "major" return for their ninth-inning man and aren't too keen on parting with him. One club official said to Dutton: "Are we actively looking to move Holland? No. But we’ve got to be open-minded to everything."
Both Crow and Collins are headed into the first year of arbitration eligibility. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected them to earn $1.9MM and $1MM, respectively. While neither salary is prohibitive (to say the least), the Royals currently project for an $87MM payroll, GM Dayton Moore has said he expects the 2014 payroll to mirror 2013's mark of $85MM. As Dutton points out, three years of either Crow or Collins would figure to fetch a nice haul on the trade market when pitchers like Joe Smith are signing for three years and $15.75MM.
Dutton writes that right-hander Wade Davis is expected to get a chance to work his way back into the rotation in Spring Training but may end up in the bullpen again. The bullpen seems to suit Davis much better, as he has a career 2.24 ERA as a reliever and 4.57 mark as a starter (5.67 in 2013). Given his $4.8MM guaranteed salary in 2014, I'd expect that Davis is a trade candidate as well, though the Royals may value his three cheap club options too highly to part with him.