With the acquisition by the KC Royals of starters James Shields and Wade Davis, it has suddenly over-crowded their rotation.
Teams are overpaying for starting pitching right now (ie Zack Greinke and Anibal Sanchez), but can the Royals sell that these two are worth the risk?
Chen may be an easier sell mainly because he has pitched better of late and he is a veteran with a good clubhouse presence. He is slated to make $4.5 million in 2013, which is relatively cheap for the going rate (Dan Haren will make $13 million to fill the same role as Chen with Washington).
The Royals signed Chen to a multi-year deal after a very successful 2011 campaign when he went 12-8 with a 3.77 ERA over 25 starts. However, he like many of his teammates, could not duplicate it. The 2012 season started out rough, as he allowed 34 earned runs over his first 11 starts. His best months were June and August, when he went 6-1 with an ERA under 4.00.
Chen is a crafty lefty, so no one knows if he will ever be able to put together another season like 2011. I would like to see him stay in Kansas City and give it a shot. Plus, the Royals need a left-handed starter. He could rack up wins as the Royals fifth guy rather than facing other teams’ two guys like he has in the past.
Teams in desperate need of pitching, like Minnesota, could be tempted. However, I am not sure the Royals want to trade within the division.
Hochevar is another story. Most fans cannot understand why the Royals continue to hang on to him. He is so inconsistent and has yet to put it together. Just when you think he has turned a corner, it all blows up. Last season, he made $3.51 million and is set for an increase through arbitration.
Manager Ned Yost believes Hochevar is due for a breakout season. But doesn’t he say that every offseason?
Like Chen, he had a solid June and August with ERA’s under 4.00, but he was just 2-6. He was terrible over the rest of the season. The strikeouts were there, but so were the walks, homeruns, and hits.
At the end of November, it was speculated that Colorado and KC could hook up again in a trade for Hochevar. He is a native of Denver, so it would make sense for him. But for the Rockies? Coors Field is a homerun haven and he allows WAY too many homers. He has allowed 23+ over the last two seasons.
I wish the Royals would move him to the bullpen. I just think he needs a boost of confidence and his stuff seems to play out better as a reliever. If you are going to keep Hochevar, why not try him out in the bullpen in 2013? The Royals have too many starters compared to spots, so why not try and maybe it will work.
We are heading on Christmas and the new year and there have not been a lot of rumors surrounding either Chen or Hochevar. Maybe something is quietly being discussed or maybe the Royals will hold on to them. It has already been a fairly busy offseason for the team, so what’s a little more movement.
But can they find a new team for them?