- It’s unclear how many “untouchable” players the Orioles have, but second baseman Jonathan Schoop, outfielder Trey Mancini and reliever Mychal Givens are among them, an executive from outside the organization told Kubatko at the Winter Meetings. The lone player of those three who’s not under control for the long haul is Schoop, who has two arbitration-eligible years remaining. The Orioles will attempt to extend him sometime soon, Kubatko suggests. Mancini is controllable for the next half-decade, including two pre-arb campaigns, while Givens is under wraps for four more seasons (he’ll be eligible for arbitration in a year).
- While talking Manny Machado with the Cardinals, the Orioles showed interest in a trio of right-handers – Luke Weaver, Jack Flaherty and Jordan Hicks – as well as catcher Carson Kelly, Kubatko relays. In acquiring Weaver and Flaherty, the Orioles would accomplish their goal of getting two major league-ready starters for their top player. Of course, it’s questionable whether the Cardinals would even part with one (let alone both) for a single year of Machado. Weaver held his own across 60 1/3 innings last season for the Cards, who may not be in position to lose another starter with free agent Lance Lynn likely set to depart, while Flaherty ranks as MLB.com’s 48th-best prospect.
- The Orioles are reportedly trying to acquire Royals left-hander Danny Duffy, but Kubatko throws cold water on the possibility. Baltimore is indeed interested in Duffy, but it’s unlikely a deal with Kansas City will come together, in part because the Royals aren’t “aggressively shopping” the soon-to-be 29-year-old, Kubatko hears.
- Although the Orioles are seeking a left-handed hitter, they don’t seem to have interest in free agent Jon Jay, per Kubatko. That differs from previous offseasons when Jay was on the O’s radar, he notes. Conversely, Baltimore could consider Preston Tucker, whom the Astros designated for assignment Friday.
Perhaps the Orioles’ willingness to trade Manny Machado isn’t a death sentence to their 2018 playoff aspirations. Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports that although Baltimore is trying to trade their third baseman by the end of the week, they’re also “strongly pursuing” Royals starter Danny Duffy. It seems they could be looking to use a Machado trade as a means of retooling their major league roster, rather than go for an altogether rebuild. It’s all conjecture at this point, but in any case, the Orioles are in desperate need of good pitching, and although the southpaw Duffy spent some time on the DL last season, he posted quality results while on the mound despite a drop in strikeout rate from previous years. For the 2017 season, Duffy had a 3.81 ERA across 24 games started. Fangraphs estimated his value at 3.4 WAR.
A couple more items out of Camden Yards…
- Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com speaks at length about the Orioles in a video. At one point, he gives his insight on the dramatic shift in the O’s mindset regarding Manny Machado. “As late as Monday night, I talked to an Orioles official who said it was probably less than zero percent that Manny Machado would be traded before Opening Day,” Connolly says in the video. “And then… bam, everything changed.” Connolly wonders if perhaps the Orioles went into the winter meetings thinking that they had a great chance of improving their starting pitching (he mentions Mike Fiers and Tyler Chatwood as possible targets), but then felt disheartened when they watched their top choices go off the board. Since the Orioles don’t have the budget to play in “the stratosphere” of Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish, they may have needed a new and bold strategy to get the pitching they’ll require to compete. One incredibly important disclaimer: Connolly admits he’s only speculating. Still, from my perspective, his logic adds up.
- Speaking of Machado, Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette says he’ll consider dealing the prized third baseman even to an AL East division rival (via a piece by Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun). Encina notes that the Yankees have shown interest in acquiring Machado, and I’d add that their farm system has some talented young pitching that could help the Orioles’ rotation. Baltimore isn’t a stranger to intra-divisional trades; as Encina points out, the O’s acquired Tim Beckham from the Rays at this past year’s trade deadline. He also includes quotes wherein Duquette mentions acquiring Andrew Miller from the Red Sox and Richard Bleier from the Yankees. Of course, none of these trades compare in magnitude to a hypothetical Machado swap, but it’s interesting to learn that Duquette is leaving the door wide open to this possibility. “I think you have to look at the entire market if you’re going to accurately assess the market,” he said in a video interview with the Baltimore Sun. “And the entire market would include teams in the American League East that we compete against.”
With a pair of relief signings being wrapped up, the Phillies seem to feel good about that aspect of their roster. Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, via Twitter, the team will turn its gaze to improving the rotation. Both they and the Yankees checked in with the Diamondbacks regarding right-hander Zack Greinke, Robert Murray of FanRag writes. Greinke ending up with either club is unlikely, however, sources informed Murray. With the Rangers also having shown interest in Greinke, we now know at least three teams have inquired about the expensive 34-year-old this offseason.
Greinke is the latest hurler to land on the radar of the Yankees, who have also eyed Pirates righty Gerrit Cole. Consequently, the Bucs “are gathering names of young, controllable” Yankees they could acquire in a Cole deal, though there’s “nothing close,” Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (on Twitter). Notably, Brink adds that the Yankees are also “looking at” Rays righty Chris Archer. The 29-year-old has drawn significant interest this winter, but it’s unclear whether the Rays will move him.
Plenty more pitching rumors…
- The Royals are giving serious consideration to dealing southpaw Danny Duffy, who’s “extremely popular” on the trade market, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. Duffy suggested on Twitter that he doesn’t want to go anywhere, for what it’s worth. “Bury me a Royal,” he declared.
- As the Blue Jays look for pitching reinforcements, they are giving real consideration to veteran CC Sabathia, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca writes. Though manager John Gibbons suggested his own priority is to add bats, he also said he’d welcome the addition of the veteran Sabathia — who has a lengthy history with the Jays’ current front office leadership stemming from their time in Cleveland together.
- Teams have given up on trying to acquire Reds closer Raisel Iglesias, Heyman reports on Twitter. The Reds understandably want an enormous haul back for the 27-year-old star, who’s under affordable control for the foreseeable future.
- The Twins and Rays have chatted about veteran righty Jake Odorizzi, per Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (via Twitter), who adds that Tampa Bay was not interested in Minnesota’s initial offer.
- Although they’re at the beginning of a full, cost-cutting rebuild, the Marlins aren’t feeling any urgency to deal righty Dan Straily, per Joe Frisaro of MLB.com (Twitter link). Miami’s de facto ace will play his first of three arbitration-eligible seasons in 2018. He’s projected to earn a $4.6MM salary, which even the Marlins can afford.
- The Mets are not likely to sign another free agent reliever, at least in the near term, according to GM Sandy Alderson and as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo tweets. Instead, after landing Anthony Swarzak, the organization expects to begin looking to fill its other needs.
- Brewers GM David Stearns discussed his organization’s situation with reporters including MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy (Twitter links). He said the team was willing to go to two years to get Swarzak, but wasn’t willing to match the dollar amount he ultimately took. The club still has open payroll capacity, which Stearns says he’ll put to good use. “We have spending power this offseason,” he said. “I’m confident we are going to find places to use that effectively.”
- Before the Astros agreed to a deal with Joe Smith on Wednesday, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com hinted on Twitter that the team could have interest in free agent righty Hector Rondon. Whether that still stands remains to be seen, but the Astros are already chock-full of righty relievers as it is.
New Mets skipper Mickey Callaway indicated in his comments to reporters that he’s disinclined to utilize a traditional closer, as Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets. While Jeurys Familia has thrived in that role at times in the past, it seems the Mets may at least consider dabbling in more of a late-inning matchup approach, though surely the team’s approach will also depend upon its ensuing transactions. GM Sandy Alderson suggested to reporters, including Marc Carig of Newsday (Twitter link), that bullpen usage plans are still open for consideration.
More from the New York organizations:
- Meanwhile, recent chatter surrounding Matt Harvey does not seem likely to go anywhere. Alderson indicated (also via Carig, on Twitter) that Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland have recommended the organization retain the former ace. While it’s not clear that anything has changed since the rumors emerged yesterday, that viewpoint seems at least to be informing the Mets’ valuation of a pitcher that has a massive ceiling but who has struggled quite notably of late.
- While the Mets held at least some conversations with the Athletics regarding second baseman Jed Lowrie, per Puma (via Twitter), the clubs “don’t appear to match up.” That seems to remove at least one possibility from the Mets’ seemingly wide-open search for options up the middle. At this stage, it’s anyone’s guess how the open job will be filled.
- The Yankees have reached out to the Royals to express interest in lefty Danny Duffy, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter. Kansas City seems to be in the early stages of exploring trade scenarios for Duffy and others, but we’ve heard some news trickle out on various possibilities in recent days. The Yanks, meanwhile, have been connected to a variety of names; Sherman also discusses some of the other avenues for building out the Yanks’ rotation.
- Sherman also looks at the Yankees’ situation from a higher level. Without further salary-shedding maneuvers, he tweets, the team may have something on the order of $20MM to $25MM to work with before reaching luxury tax territory. Given that the organization has possibilities for moving yet more cash off the books, it seems there’s still ample flexibility.
Starting pitching is in the news this morning, with several notable names being discussed. But there are a whole lot of other moving pieces out there. Let’s run down the latest chatter on the pitching market:
- The Brewers have chatted with the Rays about their potential rotation trade pieces, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter), who cautions that there’s no indication to this point that “any traction was made.” It’s not immediately clear which Tampa Bay hurlers have piqued the interest of the Milwaukee front office, though surely they’d have the trade pieces necessary to swing a deal for just about anyone. Chris Archer remains the big name to watch, though we don’t yet know whether he’s truly available. The Brewers could conceivably have interest in other pitchers, too, including veteran Jake Odorizzi, but it’s all speculation at this stage.
- Meanwhile, the Brewers are said to have interest in righty Jesse Chavez, Haudricourt also tweets. We heard yesterday the veteran swingman was likely to find a new home this week.
- Veteran closer Fernando Rodney has met with the Rangers and Twins, per MLB.com’s TR Sullivan (via Twitter) and Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (via Twitter). It’s not clear at this point how serious the interest is, though Rodney might conceivably be an option for either club, both of which have largely unsettled ninth-inning plans.
- Another interesting possibility on the rotation market is Royals lefty Danny Duffy. He has drawn interest from the Cubs, per Robert Murray of Fan Rag. Indeed, K.C. has been contacted by rivals on Duffy and a few other notably interesting assets, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan tweets. It’s entirely unclear at this point what kinds of scenarios might be pondered on Duffy, but the Royals will surely want a significant return for a player they only recently extended. His contract runs through 2021 and promises him $60MM. While a DUI arrest and elbow surgery introduce some uncertainty into the situation, from a pure on-field perspective Duffy remains a valuable asset as he nears his 29th birthday.
- The Mets are among the organizations with interest in free agent righty Juan Nicasio, according to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times (via Twitter). The 31-year-old pitched quite well throughout 2017, both before and after an odd series of August transactions. He ended the year with a 2.61 ERA over 72 1/3 innings, with 9.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9.
- We’ve heard some possibility that the Nationals could have interest in free agent righty Jake Arrieta, and ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that agent Scott Boras is working to sell that potential fit to the team’s ownership. Then again, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post characterizes the Nationals’ interest as “tepid” in a tweet. The division-rival Phillies are reportedly also a possibility, along with several other teams, as we covered this morning. Given that the Nats have an opening in their rotation, it isn’t at all surprising to hear that Boras is pushing for it to be filled by Arrieta; after all, his connection to the organization’s ownership is quite well-established by this point. Of course, adding yet another high-priced starter would carry some pretty notable risk for the organization, so it stands to reason that the club will explore other possibilities before deciding whether to join the pursuit of the 31-year-old Arrieta. Crasnick also takes a broader look at Arrieta’s still-developing market, including an extensive examination of Boras’s marketing strategy.
- While there is action at the top of the pitching market, the Blue Jays seem to be taking a patient approach, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca writes. While GM Ross Atkins says there’s a lack of depth in the rotation market, he also has indicated no interest in pushing hard to strike a deal. It seems the organization’s inclination remains to seek value in bolstering the rotation depth.
- For the Diamondbacks, meanwhile, the team may at least be preparing to consider deals involving some fairly surprising players. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic runs down the team’s options for trade candidates who might free up some payroll space and enable the team to achieve future value. At the top of the list are center fielder A.J. Pollock and lefty Patrick Corbin. Meanwhile, the D-Backs are certainly still looking to field a competitor in the near term as well. They are one team with some level of interest in reliever Seung-Hwan Oh, according to Murray. Oh was not able to match his compelling MLB debut season in 2017, but still posted 8.2 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9 while carrying a 4.10 ERA over 59 1/3 innings.
After a half-decade at or near the top of the AL Central, two appearances in the World Series and one championship, the Royals now look to be going in the opposite direction. As Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas all hit the free-agent market, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic writes (subscription required/recommended) that the Royals “expect to step back for perhaps three seasons” and embark on a rebuilding effort. Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star also penned an excellent column on the Royals’ trajectory over the weekend, reporting that Kansas City appears headed for a “substantial rebuild across the next two or three seasons.”
Royals GM Dayton Moore suggests to Dodd that the Royals have to at least be open-minded to virtually any trade scenario: “If somebody blows your doors off on something, you always have to look at it.”
That, according to Rosenthal, could even include controllable pieces like Whit Merrifield, who broke out with a .288/.324/.460 slash and an AL-leading 34 stolen bases last season. Rosenthal also notes that Kansas City would listen to offers on left-handed reliever Scott Alexander, who notched a 2.48 ERA with 7.7 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and a ridiculous 73.8 percent ground-ball rate in 69 innings last year. Both players are controlled through the 2022 season and are still two years removed from arbitration eligibility.
Beyond that pairing, the Royals have a few more obvious trade candidates. Kelvin Herrera and Joakim Soria are both quality right-handed relievers that are just one year from free agency, though neither is signed at a bargain rate. Herrera projects to earn $8.3MM in arbitration, while Soria is still owed $10MM through the end of his contract. Jason Hammel didn’t have a strong first season in Kansas City but ate up 180 innings with quality K/BB numbers and a 4.37 FIP. He’s still owed $11MM through 2o18. Left-hander Danny Duffy, signed for another four years and $60MM, would represent one of the top starting pitching options on the trade market if the Royals field offers on him.
[Related: Kansas City Royals Offseason Outlook]
Interestingly, both Dodd and Rosenthal report that even as the Royals embark on a rebuild, they’re still in pursuit of a long-term deal with Hosmer. Per Dodd, team officials “see rebuilding scenarios that include” Hosmer in the fold. He’s still just 28 years of age, so Hosmer could indeed still be in his prime even at the conclusion of a two- or three-year rebuilding cycle, but it nonetheless seems counter-intuitive to sign him to what would almost certainly be a franchise-record contract while also dealing away big league talent.
Furthermore, re-signing Hosmer would effectively cost the Royals a top pick, as they currently project to receive three compensatory selections after the first round of next year’s draft due to the losses of Hosmer, Moustakas and Cain (assuming each signs for at least a $50MM guarantee, which seems likely). Those picks would not only give the Royals five picks in the top 40 or so selections of the draft — Kansas City also has a pick in Competitive Balance Round A — they’d also significantly bolster the Royals’ league-allotted draft bonus pool. Each of those comp picks for the loss of Hosmer, Moustakas and Cain would add about $2MM (give or take $100K) to the Royals’ draft pool, based on last year’s slot values.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether Hosmer even has interest in returning to a Royals team that could spend the first two or three years of that contract losing more than it wins. If Hosmer’s market fails to develop, it certainly stands to reason that a return to the only organization he’s ever known could be a nice safety net. But, it’ll likely be difficult to sell Hosmer on staying in Kansas City while simultaneously trading away his longtime teammates for younger, unproven commodities.
If the Royals do deal away big league talent without acquiring much in the way of reinforcements for the 2018 roster, they’ll join the White Sox and Tigers as rebuilding clubs in the same division. That would seemingly give the Indians and Twins all the more motivation to act aggressively as they seek to bolster their clubs this winter, as few teams ever have the luxury of competing in a division where three of their four primary rivals are largely punting on the season at hand.
The Royals will be reluctant to invest significant money in an outfielder who’s on the wrong side of 30 over the winter, which makes a potential Lorenzo Cain exit seem more likely, Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star writes. For his part, the 31-year-old Cain (32 next April) realizes his terrific tenure with the Royals could be on the verge of ending. “They all know where I stand as far as coming back to KC,” the impending free agent said. “They know I would love to come back here. I said it in the spring, and I’ll say it again now. But at the same time, everyone has to do what’s best for themselves. No one knows what’s going to happen.” Cain has been outstanding since debuting in earnest with the Royals in 2011, including this year (.301/.364/.442, 15 home runs, 26 stolen bases across 643 plate appearances), and was a key component of an AL pennant winner in 2014 and a World Series champion the next season.
More from the Central divisions:
- Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway will be a popular managerial candidate in the coming weeks, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweets. “He’s on everybody’s list,” one executive said of the 42-year-old Callaway, who has been the Tribe’s pitching coach since 2013 and is now in charge of arguably one of the best staffs in baseball history. If Callaway does become a manager in the offseason, it’ll be with the Phillies, Tigers or Mets, barring an unexpected firing elsewhere.
- Jose Martinez will have an opportunity to win the Cardinals’ first base job in 2018, manager Mike Matheny suggested to reporters, including Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, on Saturday. “He’s going to fight for it. I don’t know why he couldn’t (be the regular first baseman),” said Matheny, who also named Luke Voit as a candidate for the role. The majority of the work at first this year has gone to franchise linchpin Matt Carpenter, but he could shift back to second/third base next season. Like Carpenter, Martinez has been one of the Cards’ top offensive players in 2017. In his first extensive action in the majors, the 29-year-old rookie has batted an excellent .306/.377/.517 with 14 home runs in 306 PAs. Voit, a 26-year-old rookie, has hit .252/.308/.441 in 120 PAs.
- Royals left-hander Danny Duffy will undergo surgery Tuesday to remove “loose bodies” from his elbow, per Dodd (Twitter link). Duffy landed on the disabled list Aug. 27 with an elbow impingement, though he did return in mid-September to make three more starts. In the first season of a five-year, $65MM contract extension, Duffy logged a 3.81 ERA over 146 1/3 innings, to go with 8.0 K/9 against 2.52 BB/9.
- The Tigers announced some additions to their scouting staff and analytics department on Friday, as Jason Beck of MLB.com details. Most notably, the Tigers promoted former utilityman Don Kelly to a full-time scouting role. An eighth-round pick of he Tigers in 2001, Kelly played in Detroit from 2009-14 and, upon his retirement last winter, joined its baseball department on a trial basis.
11:55am: Royals general manager Dayton Moore has released a statement on Duffy’s arrest:
“We are obviously disappointed in the news we have received regarding Danny Duffy’s DUI arrest on Sunday night. Danny was not part of the team traveling back from Cleveland on Sunday because he had returned to Kansas City a day earlier to undergo an MRI examination. We are still in the early stages of gathering the details, but I do know that Danny has always been accountable as a member of this organization and we expect accountability from him as this process moves forward. We obviously do not condone anyone driving while under the influence, but this is now a legal matter and we will allow the process to unfold and cannot comment any further.”
11:35am: Royals left-hander Danny Duffy was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol on Sunday night, per a report from Sports Radio 810 WHB (citing Overland Park municipal court records). Duffy was not booked into jail, per 41 Action News KSHB.
Neither the team nor Duffy have released a statement on the matter yet, and details on the arrest are scarce. An arraignment for Duffy has been scheduled on Sept. 19 at 1:00pm CT, when the Royals will be in Toronto for a road matchup with the Blue Jays.
It’s not clear whether there will be any discipline from the team or the league at this juncture. Duffy was placed on the 10-day disabled list this past Saturday with an impingement in his throwing elbow — his second trip to the DL this season. The 28-year-old is in the first season of a five-year, $65MM contract extension that he signed this past winter and has logged 131 innings with 7.97 K/9, 2.47 BB/9 and a 38.5 percent ground-ball rate en route to a 3.78 ERA.
The Royals, at 64-66, are 10 games out of first place in the American League Central division but are a more manageable three games back from the second Wild Card slot in the American League.
SUNDAY: Manager Ned Yost announced Sunday that Duffy has a “low grade pronator strain,” per Dodd, who notes that the Royals are hopeful he’ll only sit out one start. In a worst-case scenario, Duffy would miss three weeks (Twitter link).
SATURDAY: The Royals will place left-hander Danny Duffy on the 10-day DL due to a left elbow impingement (Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star was among those to report the news). Lefty Onelki Garcia’s contract has been purchased from Triple-A in a corresponding roster move, with Bubba Starling going to the 60-day DL to create 40-man roster space, as per MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan. Eric Skoglund, another southpaw, will fill Duffy’s spot in the rotation and start tomorrow’s game.
This is the second time Duffy has hit the disabled list this season, as the southpaw previously missed over five weeks due to an oblique strain. No timetable is yet known for Duffy’s elbow issue, though any time missed is a big setback for a Royals club that is battling for the postseason (entering today 1.5 games behind the Twins for the second wild card spot).
Duffy has a 3.78 ERA, 3.22 K/BB rate and 7.97 K/9 over 131 innings this season. While obviously Duffy and K.C. were hoping for better health in the first season of Duffy’s five-year, $65MM extension signed last January, the lefty has been worth 3.1 fWAR this year, already more than the 2.8 fWAR he generated over 179 2/3 IP in his breakout 2016 season. Duffy is achieving quality results despite losing just under two miles per hour in fastball velocity (down to 92.9mph) from 2016, though he has also thrown his fastball much less than usual while increasing usage of his slider, changeup and curveball.
Garcia signed a minor league deal with the Royals in the offseason, and he has a 4.75 ERA, 7.3 K/9 and 2.09 K/BB rate over 85 1/3 Triple-A frames this season, holding left-handed hitters to a .653 OPS. Garcia’s only previous big league experience came in 2013, when he pitched in three games (1 1/3 innings) for the Dodgers.
The Royals announced today that they’ve selected the contract of right-handed reliever Al Alburquerque from Triple-A Omaha and transferred injured lefty Matt Strahm from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. Southpaw Eric Skoglund was optioned to Triple-A to clear a spot on the active roster for Alburquerque.
[Related: Updated Kansas City Royals depth chart]
As Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star wrote yesterday, Strahm was diagnosed with a torn patella tendon, sidelining him for the foreseeable future. Per Dodd, the team is currently seeking a second opinion to determine if Strahm requires surgery. Either way, he’ll be out until Aug. 30, at the earliest, as a result of today’s move.
In more optimistic injury news, however, Dodd tweets that the Royals have listed ace Danny Duffy as their starter for Tuesday’s game, meaning he’ll be activated after missing nearly eight weeks with an oblique injury. The return of Duffy will be a boon to a Royals team that has yet again surprised some by surging up the AL Central standings with a strong month of play.
With Strahm and Nate Karns on the shelf, Duffy will step back into the rotation alongside Ian Kennedy, Jason Vargas, Jason Hammel and Travis Wood. With the exception of Vargas, that group has struggled considerably in 2017, so the return of the team’s best pitcher should be a significant shot in the arm as the Royals aim for one last magical run with a core that is bound for free agency this winter.
As for Strahm, the 25-year-old burst onto the scene for Kansas City in 2016, firing 22 innings of relief with a 1.23 ERA, 12.3 K/9, 4.5 BB/9 and a 46.7 percent ground-ball rate. Long a starter in the minors, he was a candidate to fill that role in 2017 but opened the year in the bullpen and never found his footing. Through 34 2/3 innings this year, including three starts, Strahm has a 5.45 ERA thanks to diminished strikeout numbers and increased struggles with his control. He’s obviously still a potential long-term piece for the K.C. staff, whether out of the ’pen or the rotation, but this latest injury certainly puts the remainder of his season in jeopardy.
Alburquerque, meanwhile, tossed four innings for the Royals earlier this year before being designated for assignment and accepting an outright assignment to Triple-A. Al Al was more or less a mainstay in the Tigers’ relief corps from 2011-15, but he’s totaled just six big league innings in the past two seasons. The 31-year-old owns a career 3.27 ERA with 11.0 K/9 and 5.0 BB/9 in 237 Major League innings, and he’d worked to a sensational 2.08 ERA with a 28-to-5 K/BB ratio through 26 innings in Triple-A.