The Royals will go into this week with a six-man rotation once Jason Vargas is activated on Tuesday. The team will use this week to sort out their pitching staff and determine how they want their rotation to look going forward. We will assume Edinson Volquez firmly has a rotation spot in hand and that Kris Medlen will pitch out of the bullpen initially. Let's take a look at the remaining rotation candidates and the reasons to keep them in the rotation or drop them from the rotation.
Reasons to keep him: Had a 2.55 ERA in 25 starts last year. Has a 2.27 ERA in five starts since returning from the disabled list on June 24, with the Royals winning four of those contests. Is just 26 years old. Projects to be the Royals second-best starter the rest of the way.
Reasons to drop him: Has had consistency issues. Had a 5.87 ERA in his first eight starts this year. Has had injury problems - Tommy John surgery, rib injury in 2014, bicep tendonitis in 2015. Has been effective out of the bullpen before.
Reasons to keep him: Has the tenth-most wins in baseball over the last calendar year. The Royals are 12-6 in games he has started. Is 3-2 with a 4.13 ERA in nine starts since his disastrous Yankee Stadium start. Has a 5.64 ERA lifetime out of the bullpen and hasn't relieved since 2012. Is owed $9 million this year. Granite Camaro!
Reasons to drop him: Has the fifth-worst ERA in baseball and the fifth-worst strikeout rate among qualified starters. Has the fifth-worst ERA in baseball and worst strikeout rate over the last two calendar years. Is 36 years old.
Reasons to keep him: Was a 2.2 fWAR pitcher last season. Hasn't pitched out of the bullpen since 2009 and is owed $16 million over the next two years.
Reasons to drop him: Has not been healthy this year. Concerns velocity has been down in rehab starts. Underwhelming strikeout rate and FIP this year.
Reasons to keep him: Projects to be the best starting pitcher going forward. Has the best overall upside out of any Royals starting pitcher. Peripherals are pretty much the same as last year. Did not pitch well out of the bullpen in his post-season outing last year.
Reasons to drop him: ERA is way up from last year. Fastball velocity is down. Has been very underwhelming since returning from injury. Has had maturity issues. Has had health concerns with ulnar neuritis. Has options remaining.
Reasons to keep him: Leads Royals starters in ERA. Seems to be a pitcher tailor-made for Kauffman Stadium. Has given up one or fewer earned runs in 8 of his 14 starts.
Reasons to drop him: Ridiculously low .207 BABIP may not be sustainable. Wore down at the end of last season. Has a 4.91 ERA over his last six starts. Has a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings out of the bullpen this year.
Who is your odd man out?