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Royals Rumblings - News for August 19, 2022

Will the Royals be “aggressive” in free agency?

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Kansas City Royals spring training John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Royals Rumblings - News for August 19, 2022

General Manager J.J. Picollo talked to Lynn Worthy about a number of topics, including how they’ll approach the off-season.

“We’ll look at it,” Picollo said of the free-agent market. “We’re not going to say, ‘OK, this is our team.’ Every team has got to get better. We want to win a World Series. We’ve got to take our first steps where we’re more competitive, and we’re seeing that now.

“But we’re going to look at free agency. We’re going to be aggressive like we always are. Where we’ll be with payroll is to be determined. So that’s certainly going to have a factor in what we’ll do. Knowing the nucleus of what we have doesn’t make it as pressing. So if there’s the right player to add to the club, then you add it. I think time will tell, end of the year meetings, talking to our staff at the end, talking to our scouts about what they see with our team, then just sort of evaluating what free agents are out there. Then, you always have the trade market.”

Brad Keller says he was shocked to be moved to the pen, but he wants to help out.

“I’m just going to try and do whatever to help the team win,” Keller said. “They asked me what my thoughts were, and, honestly, that’s my opinion. Obviously, I would love to start. If my time to be in the bullpen is now then so be it. If that’s going to help the team win, that’s what we’re going to do.”

Craig Brown at Into the Fountains looks at Keller’s demotion to the bullpen.

Perhaps a more important question is, what does this mean for Keller’s future with the Royals? He will finish 2022 with five years of service time, meaning he will be eligible for arbitration for one last time before hitting the free agent market after the 2023 season. He’s making $4.825 this year, a 44 percent raise from his 2021 salary. He’s actually pitched better this year, so maybe a 50 percent increase is in line through the process. That would bump him to around $7.25 million. And that would be in the low range. So let’s estimate somewhere between $7.5 to $8.5 is what Keller will make in 2023. Do the Royals want to commit that to a reliever? I guess we’ll see how Matheny utilizes Keller out of the bullpen, but that’s high leverage reliever money. Does Keller shift back to the rotation? I’ve always maintained that Keller is, at best, a fifth starter on a team with eyes on contention. While the Royals won’t be at that point next year, they do have myriad options, both on the major league roster and on the farm when it comes to starters. And since Keller isn’t going to be in Kansas City once they are ready to contend, it does make sense to clear rotation space to see what the kids can do.

Max Castillo felt good about his first start in a Royals uniform.

Hunter Dozier is back from paternity leave after the birth of his third child.

“This [birth] was the most hectic out of the three, for sure,” Dozier said. “Just because we didn’t know exactly when it would happen, and we were hoping it would be when we’re at home so I didn’t have to worry about trying to get back to Kansas City. But we knew it was going to happen right when I left. Luckily, we were close, and I was able to drive the six hours home.”

Minor leaguer C.J. Alexander is off to a great start since being acquired by the Royals.

Trey Donovan at Inside the Royals thinks Jose Cuas can be part of the future.

Marcus Meade at Royals Farm Report has his top 50 Royals prospects list.

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