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The Royals should keep Louis Coleman

The up-and-down righty is a candidate to be non-tendered.

Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

After losing Greg Holland to injury and possibly Ryan Madson and Franklin Morales to free agency, the Royals should be looking to regain depth in the bullpen. As it stands, the Royals have Wade Davis as the closer, Kelvin Herrera as the setup man (aka 8th inning guy), Luke Hochevar as another 7th/8th inning option, and Tim Collins as the lefty when he is has fully recovered from Tommy John surgery. Brian Flynn, acquired in the Aaron Crow trade from the Marlins, might return at some point. Danny Duffy has spent most of his time as a starter, but he may find himself in the bullpen. That's five guys if you include either Duffy or Flynn. It seems clear the bullpen needs some more depth.

There are many places to find that depth. Louis Coleman is an internal option for some more depth at the Major League level. Here is Coleman's career MLB performance to date:

177.1 25.3% 10.6% 1.32 .268 3.20 4.30 4.05

For a more back-end reliever type, those aren't terrible numbers. Coleman, in part because of his unusual delivery, has generally had a lower ERA than his peripherals suggest. He is a fly ball pitcher in a pitcher-friendly environment with a great defensive outfield, and he can also induce popups fairly well. This combination does well for the Royals, although he can be a little too dinger-prone.

For his part, Coleman had an excellent year in AAA for Omaha, posting a 1.69 ERA and 3.57 FIP while limiting home runs. Coleman will turn 30 the day after Opening Day, so he's no "prospect" anymore. His major-league innings reach back to 2011.

Louis Coleman is eligible for his second year of arbitration and is out of options, so he would have to clear waivers again to be sent to the minor leagues. He made $725,000 after agreeing on a deal to avoid arbitration with the Royals last year. MLB Trade Rumors projects Coleman to receive $1 million this year. That may seem like a lot for a guy who spent nearly the entire year in Omaha, but that's cheap bullpen depth. With teams throwing a lot of money around to get top relief pitchers, the upper echelon of the relief market (Darren O'Day for example) will probably receive much more than what the Royals are willing to pay.

Coleman had a rough 2014, but the other options are signing Joakim Soria and/or signing a guy like  Madson, Joe Blanton and/or Franklin Morales. All of those options will certainly be more expensive than Coleman. Signing one does not even necessarily rule out Coleman, either. The Royals are lucky in that they do not really have to worry about having lefty or righty specialists, so they can just go with the best players they can get. Coleman may not be the best option, but his low projected salary leaves the Royals with options.