After the acquisition of Andrew Benintendi last week, the Royals’ starting lineup is all but completed. However, it is possible General Manager Dayton Moore is still looking to add an impact reliever to the bullpen. If the Royals want to double down on their “win now” mentality, here are four names that could bolster the pitching staff.
The hard-throwing right-hander is not only the best closer on the market, you could make a case that he’s the best pitcher available. Rosenthal dominated in 2020 with both Kansas City and San Diego — posting a 1.90 ERA with 11 saves. He was a perfect 7-for-7 with the Royals in save opportunities.
If the Royals can reach a deal with Rosenthal, they would add one of the top closers in baseball to a pitching staff that ranked sixth in the American League last season. The question is, does Kansas City think it’s necessary to put them over the top?
As things stand, the Royals’ closer will be Greg Holland with Josh Staumont and Scott Barlow setting him up. Holland returned to form last year — nailing down all six of his save opportunities and he recorded 13-straight scoreless outings to close out the season. On paper, the Royals have a reliable closer on a cheap one-year contract. On the other hand, Holland just turned 35 and doesn’t pump out the same velocity he used to. That didn’t hurt him in 2020, but can he do it over the course of 162 games?
If you’re struggling to remember the name, this will help you out — Jeffress was part of the Zack Greinke trade. The right-hander was acquired by the Royals in 2010 in a deal that sent Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt to the Brewers in exchange for Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, and Jake Odorizzi. Jeffress never panned out for Kansas City, as he pitched just 28 2⁄3 innings with the Royals over two years.
In 2018, Jeffress was back with the Brewers and became one of the most electric relievers in the National League. In the midst of a pennant race, Jeffress logged a 1.29 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 76 2⁄3 innings. He also became an All-Star for the first time in his career. The right-hander slumped in 2019, but bounced back with the Cubs in 2020 — collecting eight saves with a 1.54 ERA.
Jeffress is a few years older than Rosenthal, but would be cheaper on a one or two-year deal.
The Royals have faced Clippard the last two seasons when he’s pitched for Cleveland and Minnesota. He is not an over-powering arm with a low 90s fastball, but he keeps the ball in the park and doesn’t walk many. Last season with the Twins, Clippard appeared in 26 games and posted a 2.77 ERA with 26 strikeouts and four walks. He’s also posted a sub-1 WHIP in back-to-back seasons.
The two-time All-Star has pitched for 10 different clubs. Eight of those teams, however, were for one-year stints or less. That being said, a one-year deal is likely for Clippard. After an impressive 2019 season, Clippard settled on a one-year, $2.75M deal with the Twins. The longer he becomes available, the better chance he has of falling in the same price range this offseason. As an extreme fly-ball pitcher, Kauffman Stadium could attract Clippard.
When Roe is on the mound, he makes baseball’s look like balloons and hitters look foolish with his wipeout slider. The 6-foot-5 reliever only pitched in 10 games in 2020 before he was shut down for the season with discomfort in his throwing arm. Fortunately, there wasn’t any ligament damage. The previous year in 2019, Roe struck out 11.5 hitters per nine innings and allowed just three home runs in 71 games.
Roe had a workout for teams this weekend, and the Dodgers were expected to be one of the interested teams. However, Los Angeles’ bullpen has already added a number of names this offseason such as Corey Knebel, Blake Treinen, and Tommy Kahnle.
A little pro day for Free Agent Chaz Roe this evening to end our training day pic.twitter.com/b4sByJxlxV— Pitching Performance Lab (@PPL_Lex) February 13, 2021
Coming off injury in his throwing arm, Roe could be a risk. But the reward could be much higher if the right-hander replicates his 2019 numbers.