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The Royals' Bullpen Depth

Trade rumors have swirled about the Royals' interest in trading for a bullpen piece. Is it necessary?

What to do?
What to do?
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The calendar tells me that it is currently July. I find it difficult to keep track of these things, what with all the things that are going on in my boring life. I have no idea what happened to the other months between now and February. Since it is July, the internet personae fire up the hot stove, which doesn't make any sense to me (again, it's July), to talk about trade rumors. The Astros gifted us a primer for the season, but let's get specific.

One of the rumors generated by the fiery coals of the hot stove is that the Royals are on the lookout for some bullpen help. Somebody somewhere (I can't find the link) on the internet thinks this, so it's only natural that we should dissect it like a psychotic scientist and hang our lives on what might happen. The following entails an analysis of the bullpen to determine if, indeed, bullpen help is necessary.

The methods by which I went about this analysis might be unorthodox. I wanted to compare how the top three in innings pitched by team have performed against each other. Basically, what I have done is take the sum total of fWAR among the top three relievers in innings pitched for each team. Below are the results of said sums.


Our beloved hometown team, the Royals, do not rank poorly in this analysis. There are the Yankees, there are the Athletics, and then there are a bunch of teams who are pretty similar. It seems to me that the Royals' top three relievers by innings pitched match up OK against those other dastardly clubs.

But then again, I did mention that there are a bunch of teams squished together. You have to have more than three relievers these days to finish games, and maybe that's where teams distinguish themselves. What I then did was take the sum total fWAR of the next four pitchers by innings pitched. Below is a very similar graph to the above graph, but different.


There are six teams, then there are the Royals, and then there are a bunch of teams before we reach the bottom of the barrel of monkeys relievers. The Royals certainly don't rank poorly here either.

While the Royals could probably have a better bullpen, it's not my first choice for things to upgrade. However, the Royals already ...upgraded... in right field. They are entrenched at third base, second base, first base, fourth base, and all bases. Their bases are covered. The bullpen may represent the only area where another upgrade could be achieved. I don't think any bullpen transaction will move the team meter past mediocre, though.

Then again, the Royals have been hoarding cash considerations, and the above numbers were compiled before last night's game, when Michael Mariot did his best impression of Michael Mariot, at which he is skilled. Maybe the cash considerations they're hoarding will be enough to overpay for Jim Johnson.