(Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports)
The winters are usually quiet for the KC Royals, a team typically content to begin spring training looking much like it did when the previous season ended. The Royals almost always leave offseason moving and shaking to others.
This winter is sizing up the same way. Primarily responsible for Kansas City’s lack of big moves is, of course, the transaction freeze born of the MLB lockout but, other than the unremarkable signings of pitcher Taylor Clarke and outfielder JaCoby Jones, the Royals made little noise before it began.
Whether the club will stay its conservative course after the lockout ends remains to be seen. But what if they do? What would the club look like if the 2022 season started today?
Salvador Perez will be behind the plate Opening Day. That much is certain. But without roster changes, he’ll catch a shaky rotation and a bullpen needing help in the middle. Carlos Hernandez, Brad Keller, Brady Singer, Mike Minor and Daniel Lynch, collectively 30-40 as starters last season, are the top five rotation candidates, but the back end of the bullpen is currently in good shape with Scott Barlow closing and Josh Staumont, Jake Brentz, Domingo Tapia, and Joel Payamps the favorites to handle the seventh and eighth innings. (Don’t bet on Greg Holland returning).
But the losses of Richard Lovelady (probably for the season after Tommy John Surgery), Kyle Zimmer, Jakob Junis and Scott Blewett (cut loose) and Wade Davis (retired), and the fact Ervin Santa is no lock to return, mean the rest of the pen must be reshaped. Kansas City signed Clarke several days ago, but one addition won’t be enough.
So, what should the Royals do when the MLB lockout lifts? Find some relief help, and another starter might not hurt.
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