The Royals are reportedly heavily scouting the Phillies right now, and while much speculation has been that they are interested in Phillies slugger Marlon Byrd, despite his no-trade clause, Jim Salisbury reports the Royals are also interested in left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo.
It almost sounded like a sales pitch, which was interesting because scouts from Kansas City, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Toronto have been in town for two days now. All those clubs are monitoring the market for relievers. Sources say the Royals are very interested in Phillies relievers (read: Bastardo). The Tigers are keeping an eye on Bastardo and Jonathan Papelbon. Pittsburgh and Toronto have also been connected to Bastardo.
Bastardo is a 28-year old left-handed reliever who is eligible for free agency after the 2015 season. The Dominican reliever has a 3.27 ERA with nearly 11 strikeouts per nine innings, although he struggles with control, walking nearly 5 hitters per nine innings. In six seasons with Philadelphia, Bastardo has a 3.58 career ERA with over 11 strikeouts per nine innings.
Bastardo isn't really a situational left-handed pitcher, as he has a marginal career split. Left-handers are hitting .181/.279/.337 against him in his career, compared to .209/.308.326 against right-handers. This year, lefties actually have an OPS 90 points higher than right-handers against Bastardo.
Bastardo earns about $700,000 the rest of the year, and is eligible for arbitration next season.
The Royals have been searching for left-handed relievers much of the year, since Tim Collins has imploded. Although there do seem to be much more pressing needs elsewhere, Bastardo is at least a good reliever, although I wouldn't expect the price to fetch him to be nothing.