Royals relievers Greg Holland and Ian Kennedy were among the 147 players who became free agents on Wednesday. The Royals have four free agents in all, with Holland and Kennedy joining starter Matt Harvey and outfielder Alex Gordon, who has announced his retirement.
Royals manager Mike Matheny has expressed an interest in bringing back Holland, who he praised for his tutelage of young Royals pitchers. The 34-year old revived his career with a 1.91 ERA in 28 1⁄3 innings with the Royals, and was especially dominant down the stretch, giving up just one run and one walk with 20 strikeouts over his last 16 innings.
The fate of Ian Kennedy is less clear now that his five-year, $70 million deal has expired. Kennedy was solid in his first season as a starter, but quickly ran into trouble with home runs. A move to the bullpen was successful in 2019, but he struggled in 2020. The 35-year old right-hander gave up 17 runs in 14 innings and spent much of September on the Injured List with a calf strain.
Harvey was hit around, allowing 15 runs in 11 2⁄3 innings, but the Royals signed him with an eye for 2021. The 31-year old was a 4.0 WAR pitcher in 2015, according to Fangraphs, but has not been the same pitcher since, with a 5.82 ERA in the following five years.
This is considered a much thinner free agent class than usual, and teams are expected to be much more conservative following financial losses due to the pandemic. Top available players include catcher J.T. Realmuto, infielders D.J. LeMahieu, Didi Gregorius, and Marcus Semien, outfielders Marcell Ozuna and George Springer, and pitchers Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman, and Masahiro Tanaka. More players will join their ranks as clubs decline options, such as the Cardinals declining the option on second baseman Kolten Wong, and when players are non-tendered in December. Players automatically become eligible for free agency once they reach six years of Major League service time and are not under contract.
Players that became free agents on Wednesday:
Arizona Diamondbacks(2): Jon Jay, Yasmany Tomas
Atlanta Braves (9): Tyler Flowers, Shane Greene, Cole Hamels, Adeiny Hechavarria, Nick Markakis, Mark Melancon, Marcell Ozuna, Pablo Sandoval, Josh Tomlin
Baltimore Orioles (2): Bryan Holaday, Wade LeBlanc
Boston Red Sox (3): Jackie Bradley Jr., Rusney Castillo, Collin McHugh
Chicago Cubs (8): Andrew Chafin, Tyler Chatwood, Billy Hamilton, Jeremy Jeffress, Jason Kipnis, Cameron Maybin, Josh Phegley, Jose Quintana
Chicago White Sox (3): Alex Colome, Jarrod Dyson, James McCann
Cincinnati Reds (4): Trevor Bauer, Anthony DeSclafani, Freddy Galvis, Tyler Thornburg
Cleveland Indians (3): Cesar Hernandez, Sandy Leon, Oliver Perez
Colorado Rockies (6): Drew Butera, Matt Kemp, Daniel Murphy, Chris Owings, Kevin Pillar, A.J. Ramos
Detroit Tigers (5): C.J. Cron, Ivan Nova, Austin Romine, Jonathan Schoop, Jordan Zimmermann
Houston Astros (4): Michael Brantley, Brad Peacock, Josh Reddick, George Springer
Kansas City Royals (4): Alex Gordon, Matt Harvey, Greg Holland, Ian Kennedy
Los Angeles Angels (2): Andrelton Simmons, Julio Teheran
Los Angeles Dodgers (7): Pedro Baez, Enrique Hernandez, Jake McGee, Joc Pederson, Blake Treinen, Justin Turner, Alex Wood
Miami Marlins (6): Brad Boxberger, Francisco Cervelli, Logan Forsythe, Matt Joyce, Sean Rodriguez, Nick Vincent
Milwaukee Brewers (1): Brett Anderson
Minnesota Twins (8): Ehire Adrianza, Alex Avila, Tyler Clippard, Nelson Cruz, Marwin Gonzalez, Rich Hill, Trevor May, Jake Odorizzi
New York Mets (11): Yoenis Cespedes, Jared Hughes, Jed Lowrie, Jake Marisnick, Eduardo Nunez, Rick Porcello, Erasmo Ramirez, Rene Rivera, Marcus Stroman, Michael Wacha, Justin Wilson
New York Yankees (4): Erik Kratz, DJ LeMahieu, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka
Oakland Athletics (10): Mike Fiers, Robbie Grossman, Liam Hendriks, Tommy La Stella, Jake Lamb, T.J. McFarland, Mike Minor, Yusmeiro Petit, Marcus Semien, Joakim Soria
Philadelphia Phillies (7): Jose Alvarez, Jake Arrieta, Jay Bruce, Didi Gregorius, Tommy Hunter, J.T. Realmuto, Brandon Workman
Pittsburgh Pirates (2): Derek Holland, Keone Kela
St. Louis Cardinals (4): Brad Miller, Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright, Matt Wieters
San Diego Padres (5): Jason Castro, Jurickson Profar, Garrett Richards, Trevor Rosenthal, Kirby Yates
San Francisco Giants (4): Trevor Cahill, Kevin Gausman, Drew Smyly, Tony Watson
Seattle Mariners (3): Dee Gordon, Kendall Graveman, Yoshihisa Hirano
Tampa Bay Rays (1): Aaron Loup
Texas Rangers (7): Jesse Chavez, Shin-Soo Choo, Derek Dietrich, Jeff Mathis, Juan Nicasio, Andrew Romine, Edinson Volquez
Toronto Blue Jays (7): Anthony Bass, Ken Giles, Joe Panik, Robbie Ray, Matt Shoemaker, Jonathan Villar, Taijuan Walker
Washington Nationals (5): Asdrubal Cabrera, Sean Doolittle, Brock Holt, Kurt Suzuki, Ryan Zimmerman