The Royals completed a trio of free agent signings in the last week with their two-year deal with Edinson Volquez last night. Volquez did win 13 games with a 3.05 ERA last year, but the 31-year old right-hander seems due for regression in 2015. Here's what the internet had to say about his signing.
Josh Vernier of 610 Sports likes the upside.
I didn't think #Royals would fill all 3 spots w/ proven guys. 2 fmr All-Stars & a top-5 MVP guy. Past prime, ya, but I expected 1 'spin guy'— Josh Vernier (@JoshVernier610) December 18, 2014
Craig Brown is pessimistic the deal will work out.
Given the market, 2/$20 for Volquez isn't a bad deal. But he won't come close to that value for the #Royals.— Craig Brown (@royalsauthority) December 17, 2014
Dan Szymborski's projections seem to agree.
Here's Volquez ZiPS in KC. Perhaps North Korea's been blackmailing KC into accumulating mediocre players. pic.twitter.com/GeEVTSajma— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) December 17, 2014
So did we get better or worse this winter?
In 2014… Morales/Rios/Volquez: -0.8 fWAR Aoki/Shields/Butler: 5.7 fWAR— Beyond the Box Score (@BtBScore) December 17, 2014
David Lesky of Pine Tar Press thinks Volquez is a decent back-of-the-rotation guy.
If Ventura and Duffy do what they're capable of, Volquez should be a more than capable 3/4 type for the #Royals.— David Lesky (@DBLesky) December 17, 2014
Rany Jazayerli seems to agree.
1) Based on what was left out there in FA, Volquez isn't a bad get; there wasn't anyone clearly better aside from Shields & Scherzer.— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) December 17, 2014
4) Volquez and Rios are overpays, but they have value at positions the Royals needed to fill. I just don't get the Morales thing at all.— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) December 17, 2014
New York Times writer Tyler Kepner isn't impressed.
"I'm not sure they got better, I've never really trusted Volquez" - @TylerKepner on the #Royals off season— 610 Sports Radio- KC (@610SportsKC) December 18, 2014
The Royals weren't the only ones in on Volquez.
#Royals did beat out Twins for Volquez. Twins were hot on his trail, according to source— Jeffrey Flanagan (@jflanagankc) December 17, 2014
Be nice, Marc!
I defend the Royals for a lot of things but I'm physically incapable of defending paying Edinson Volquez money to play baseball in America.— Marc Normandin (@Marc_Normandin) December 17, 2014
Well what if he pitches well in Toronto?
Joe Posnanski doesn't get the "weird barrage of free agents."
I’m beginning to wonder if the Royals just gave us that incredible postseason run last year so that they could spend the next few years trolling us with the sorts of signings that used to make them baseball’s laughing stock.
Look: There’s no way I can unload on the Royals after what they did in October. It was so much fun, and it felt so fresh. Using deftness and persistence and luck, the Royals built a bullpen for the ages and a young team that scrapped and played great defense. It’s all well and good to say that much of their success was randomness — after all, they were losing 8-3 to Oakland in the wildcard game — but much of life is randomness, and if blame comes with losing then credit must come with winning. The Royals did a lot of things right — some of them (like the James Shields trade) that i felt sure were wrong.
So, this weird barrage of free agents — I can’t in good conscience do anything but grumble quietly. The Royals were a Bumgarner away form a World Series victory. I wish they wouldn’t celebrate that magical season by paying way too much money for declining 30-something players. But, you know, winners are entitled to celebrate however they want.
Jeff Sullivan acknowledges the Royals are spending inefficiently, but perhaps that's okay considering their core.
The Royals have spent inefficiently, and given where they got to, perhaps that’s a bit anticlimactic. Yet the Royals know free agency isn’t what got them to the World Series. They’ve kept their controlled players, they’ve kept their minor-league players, and they’ll have money available to try to re-sign Alex Gordon around when he decides what to do with his 2016 option. What the Royals have done is easy to mock, but it also would’ve been easy for them to overpay Nelson Cruz, and to their credit they avoided the temptation. Maybe the Royals are actually going to trade a reliever. It’s December 18. Or maybe the Royals are going to stick with what they have. What they have doesn’t look like the strongest roster in the league, but considering what took place only two months ago, and what led to all that, could you blame them?
Hunter Samuels of Kings of Kauffman isn't wild about Volquez due to his lack of command.
All that being said, this is still a bit of an odd fit to me. The Royals tend to favor flyball pitchers with solid command profiles, and Volquez checks off zero of those boxes. His 3.3 BB/9 was a career-best mark, and in his career, he’s walked 11.3% of the batters he’s faced. If his control regresses to something closer to that, his numbers will likely falter significantly. It’s difficult for the defense to make an impact when batters are receiving free passes so frequently.
I’ve never been a big fan of Volquez, and that control (or lack thereof) is quite scary for a pitcher who’s being guaranteed $20 million through the end of 2016.
Craig Brown at Royals Authority warns Volquez' dip in walks last year might have been due to catcher Russell Martin.
I know we aren’t supposed to speak ill of St. Sal, but Volquez really benefitted from Russell Martin behind the plate in Pittsburgh. Martin is regarded as one of the better pitch framers and stats say he’s the third best pitch framer in the game. The same stat puts Perez in the bottom tier of regular backstops.
This is key because Volquez has earned the moniker of "Walkman." He has a career walk rate of 4.5 BB/9. He walks over 11 percent of all batters. Working with Martin last summer in Pittsburgh, Volquez’s walk rate was a career best 3.3 BB/9 and his percentage dropped to 8.8 percent. He is two years removed from a BB/9 over five and a whopping 13 percent walk rate. Read this post from Mike Petriello at Fangraphs for an in-depth study on the affect Martin had on Volquez. Certainly, there could be something mechanical that has led to his reduction in walks. I haven’t watched him enough to know. But this is something to watch going forward. If Volquez struggles with command, the best defense in the world isn’t going to be much help.
Brace yourself, walks are coming.
#wins pic.twitter.com/ySWLyPHgHz— Conrad McGorkin (@ConradMcGorkin) December 18, 2014
#wins #ERA pic.twitter.com/hLLFLjskgw— Conrad McGorkin (@ConradMcGorkin) December 18, 2014
Hard to disagree with that logic. I feel better already.