Struggling following two years of making the World Series (winning it last time), the Kansas City Royals, 3rd in the AL Central, are looking at almost every possible starting pitcher on the trading block around the league in hope of finding some solution to their woes.
The Royals have been a team that gets more reasons to be happy from their bullpen than their rotation in recent years, but this season the situation has gotten unbearable. The Royals are 29th in the majors with only 32 quality starts, and ranked in the same spot in innings pitched by their starting pitchers (455.2). The starting pitchers collective ERA is 5.02, with the work of the bullpen, on pace to play over 550 innings this season, brought this number down to 4.18, 13th in the majors.
Wade Davis is injured, putting more pressure on an already thin relief crew. In the rotation, it’s right now up to Yordano Ventura, Ian Kennedy, Danny Duffy and Edinson Volquez, along with either Dillon Gee or Brian Flynn, while Chris Young has been moved to the bullpen, and both Mike Minor and Kris Medlen have been dealing with injuries. That’s not too impressive of a situation, which is why the Royals, not too eager to break up their championship core, are aggressively looking for answers.
The names on their list? The same as they are on everyone’s list: Ervin Santana, Matt Moore, Rich Hill, Jorge De La Rosa, Jeremy Hellickson and Andrew Cashner. Despite Santana and Moore not being one-year rentals, the Royals are in big enough of a bind to go for them if the price is right, but Hellickson from the Phillies might be their best option. He provides the best combination of salary ($7 million in 2016), durability, performances recently and the prospects they’d have to give up. However, the Royals familiarity with guys like Santana and De La Rosa, despite their flaws, could swing the decision their way.