The Kansas City Royals finished fourth in their division in 2021, but will be knocking on the playoffs’ door sooner than later with their current core.
They have four talented young pitchers in Jackson Kowar, Daniel Lynch, Kris Bubic, and Brady Singer, and hitting prospects Bobby Witt Jr., MJ Melendez, and Nick Pratto will soon join Salvador Perez, Whit Merrifield, Nicky Lopez, Andrew Benintendi, Carlos Santana, Adalberto Mondesi, and Hunter Dozier in the majors.
Ideal Royals roster for the 2022 season:
1. RF: Merrifield
2. 2B: Lopez
3. C: Perez
4. LF: Benintendi
5. 3B: Mondesi
6. DH: Isbel
7. SS: Witt Jr
8. 1B: Pratto
9. CF: Taylor
— Joseph (@KachowJoJo) November 1, 2021
But they need some help to get to where they want to go.
These three free agents can contribute to the Royals’ next postseason push.
3. Anthony DeSclafani
The San Francisco Giants took a chance on an inconsistent pitcher, Anthony DeSclafani, last offseason and signed him to a one-year, $6 million deal.
He was brilliant for the Giants, with a 13-7 record and a sparkling 3.17 ERA in 31 starts.
Health was a big reason for his success and the fact he was able to throw 167.2 innings, but he made adjustments and greatly outperformed his 4.06 career ERA.
That way, they could shift their focus to this talented 31-year-old.
2. Michael Conforto
It’s not a secret that Michael Conforto did not have a good year with the New York Mets.
He hit .232/.344/.384 with only 14 homers in 125 games.
His OPS was a low (for his standards) .729.
However, Conforto has a long track record of being a top talent, and his down 2021 could lower his price tag somewhat.
However, at one point, a team on the verge of contention needs to recognize opportunities in the market when it sees them.
Conforto being available for just money is an opportunity that a team like the Royals shouldn’t miss.
In a perfect world: Kris Bryant and Marcus Stroman
In the really real world: I genuinely think Michael Conforto and Anthony DeSclafani are the two most likely to sign with the Royals https://t.co/vHxs5M6WeW
— Fake Royals Insider (@RoyalsInsider1) November 3, 2021
After all, he has a career .824 OPS.
It’s not clear if Conforto is willing to go to Kansas City, of course, but he is worth at least a long look.
1. Eduardo Rodriguez
There are several good, promising pitchers in the Royals’ organization, as mentioned above, but Eduardo Rodriguez can bring several things missing on the team: the ability to eat innings, a good floor-ceiling combination, and swing and miss stuff.
E-Rod didn’t have a good 2021 campaign if we judge him by ERA exclusively, because he finished at 4.74.
It’s good we don’t judge pitchers because of their ERA, exclusively.
For example, his Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) was much lower, at 3.32.
In Boston, his infield defense was not as good as it could be in Kansas City.
Merrifield and Lopez are both well above-average fielders and could help improve Rodriguez’s ERA.
E-Rod induces lots of grounders and strikes out a lot of people (he had a career-high 10.56 punchouts per nine innings).
All things considered, there is a pitcher with 3.8 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) hiding behind that 4.74 ERA.
The Royals should pounce.