The Royals have signed free agent starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco, according to FanRag reporter Jon Heyman. The 35-year old right-hander spent last year with the Angels, going 6-15 with a 4.92 ERA and 5.10 FIP in 33 starts and was worth 0.7 WAR, according to Fangraphs. He was a 2.6 WAR pitcher in 2016, however, and has been worth 24.7 WAR with a career 4.56 ERA in an eleven-year MLB career.
nolasco gets $1.5M on minors deal with kc. plus 250 incentives. has an out 3/24. mlb spring invite.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 7, 2018
Nolasco had a decent strikeout rate at 7.1 per-nine-innings and still averages a fastball in the low-90s. He relies heavily on his breaking pitches, however, throwing a sinker and slider, along with his four-seam fastball.
The Royals are supposedly rebuilding, but have been trying to find bargains by signing cheap veterans to one-year deals, signing Lucas Duda and Jon Jay this month. Teams really can’t have enough pitching depth, and with potential starter Jesse Hahn potentially missing the season with a UCL injury, Nolasco could provide some much-needed depth.
Still, it seems like the Royals have built up a decent amount of young pitching depth, with Trevor Oaks, Eric Skoglund, Miguel Almonte, Brad Keller, and Scott Barlow all candidates to get some starts this year, and Heath Fillmyer, Josh Staumont, and Foster Griffin could potentially become candidates to get starts later this year as well.
The Royals already have a pretty set rotation with Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, Jason Hammel, Nate Karns, and Jakob Junis, so perhaps Nolasco will serve as a long reliever to give them some innings so they don’t have to rush anyone up. But for a team that supposedly wants to get younger, it seems odd to bring in a player who began his MLB career when George W. Bush was President.