Item number two on my KC Royals holiday shopping list is:
a Veteran Starter who can eat innings.
The Royals acquired lefty Jonathan Sanchez early this offseason. However with his control issues, the team will be lucky if he averages five innings an outing. They then re-signed veteran lefty Bruce Chen. If he can stay healthy, he could be the answer. However last year he only threw 155 innings.
So I will give this item a half-check.
What starting pitchers are on the market that the Royals could deal for?
Brett Myers, Houston Astros: He didn’t have a great season this past year, but then who did for the worst team in baseball? He still threw 216 innings. The year before, he set a record for most consecutive games of going at least six innings (223.2 innings). He has won a World Series and is a playoff veteran. He has pitched for bad teams and was part of the Philadelphia Phillies first playoff run in 2007. He has a bulldog mentality. The Astros have talked about paying more than half of his salary.
The Astros could be the worst team in baseball again in 2012 before their move to the American League. They could use some more speed in their lineup after trading away Michael Bourn. Jarrod Dyson or Derrick Robinson would fit that need. If they ever moved Carlos Lee (or at least permanently moved him to first base), David Lough would fit in left field. They could also use some pitching, and guys like Mike Montgomery and Will Smith could help out quickly. Or maybe the Astros don’t move Lee to first base and want Clint Robinson to battle Brett Wallace for the first base job.
Matt Garza, Chicago Cubs: Garza was the best pitcher on the Cubs this past season. He just missed equating 200 innings for the third straight year (198). He has a career ERA of 3.83 (all but one year was in the AL). He has been to a World Series. He has pitched on bad teams. He has a bulldog mentality and fit in well with the youth in Tampa. He was a huge part of the Rays resurgence beginning in 2008 and maybe he could be the Royals missing piece.
If the Cubs cannot lure Prince Fielder or re-sign Carlos Pena, Clint Robinson would fit at first base. The Cubs are looking to bolster their starting rotation (which makes trading Garza strange), so maybe the Royals send them Danny Duffy and maybe a younger arm like Tim Melville, Greg Billo, or Justin Marks.
Jeremy Guthrie, Baltimore Orioles: It seems like every trade deadline, there are rumors about Guthrie, but every year he is still an Oriole. He is probably their best trading piece. He has pitched his entire career on a bad team. He has reached the 200 inning plateau the last three seasons and at least 30 starts the last five seasons. I would like to see Guthrie pitch on a better team, with a better defense behind him and a better offense (and a better bullpen).
The Orioles farm system is weak, so the Royals could send them a few minor leaguers. Maybe the Royals part with 2010 first round pick Christian Colon. The Orioles also need a hard-throwing reliever and Jeremy Jeffress would fit that role. Because Guthrie is a free agent after this season and is expected to garner around $7 million in arbitration, the Royals wouldn’t have to give up too much.
John Danks, Chicago White Sox: Danks isn’t quite a veteran, but it does seem like he’s been around forever. He has a bulldog mentality. Despite his inconsistencies in 2011, he pitched well from 2008-2010.
He is a free agent following the season and the White Sox asking price is high (they want two of Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, and Jesus Montero from the NY Yankees). But it would be nice to see Danks beat up on the White Sox every time the Royals and White Sox met up, wouldn’t it?
UPDATE: The White Sox locked Danks up for five more years last night, so I guess he is off the market. He still would look nice in a Royals uniform.
I mentioned David Price and James Shields of the Rays yesterday on my acquiring an ace list, but both would also fit into the veteran starter who can eat up innings (especially Shields).
*Stay tuned for another item on the list tomorrow.