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Royals reportedly expressing interest in free agent pitcher Matt Shoemaker

The groundball pitcher would be a short-term solution.

Wild Card Round - Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays - Game One Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Royals are among the teams expressing an interest in free agent starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker, according to MLB Network reporter Jon Morosi. The Red Sox are also pursuing the right-hander.

The 34-year old has pitched parts of eight seasons and has a 3.86 ERA and 4.03 FIP in 602 13 big league innings. He spent the first six years of his career with the Angels, starting Game 2 of the 2014 ALDS against the Royals. His last two years with the Blue Jays have been beset by injuries. He was fantastic in his first five starts in 2019, with a 1.57 ERA and 3.95 FIP before he tore his ACL in late April, costing him the rest of the season. He missed time this year with right shoulder inflammation and a lat strain, and made just six starts with a 4.71 ERA and 5.95 FIP.

Shoemaker has a solid strikeout-to-walk ratio, and still throws in the low-90s. He relies on his split-fingered fastball to get groundballs, although he had an issue with home runs in his limited starts this year. He is likely available on a one- or two-year deal, and will not cost a lot considering his age and injury risk. Craig Edwards at Fangraphs ranks Shoemaker as the 44th-best free agent this off-season.

The Royals could be looking for a starting pitcher to help their young pitching prospects ease into big league action. Brady Singer and Kris Bubic are expected to join Brad Keller and Danny Duffy in next year’s rotation, with Jakob Junis a possibility to move to the bullpen. Jackson Kowar, Daniel Lynch, and Asa Lacy are all candidates to join the rotation at some point, but none of the three pitched in a professional baseball game this year.