With the crazy money that the LA Angels threw at side arming middle reliever Joe Smith over the past week, the market may be open for the KC Royals bullpen. The bullpen has been the only stable part of the Royals over the last three seasons (and one of the best in baseball) and they are quietly admitting that they would part with any of them at the right price.
That includes closer Greg Holland.
After shelling out money to sign free agent starter Jason Vargas last week, the Royals now must look to trades to bolster their 2014 roster. They are looking to keep a payroll similar to last season’s ($85 million).
What will play a role in who would get traded, is salary. Right-hander Aaron Crow and lefty Tim Collins are entering arbitration for the first time and should receive pay raises (up over $1 million). The cheap Royals would be looking to lessen their payroll by moving one of these.
Rival clubs would be glad to take either (or both) off the Royals hands, considering both have three years remaining before entering free agency. Both have proven track records in the big leagues and both throw hard.
Collins proves you can get alot out of a small package. Over the last three seasons, he has thrown in 206 games with a 3.51 ERA. He has struck out 205 in 190 innings. He does struggle at times with control. Crow has struck out 174 in 174.2 innings and has a 3.19 ERA in 187 games over the last three years.
Can the Royals afford to trade either or both?
Rival teams say yes, because the Royals have other options in the bullpen.
Luke Hochevar pitched very well last season when he finally faced the fact that he is no longer a starter. I honestly would try to move him, though he makes more money. Teams were interested in him during the season, so why not try to make a deal. Will Smith also pitched very well down the stretch out of the ‘pen for the Royals, but he still has hopes of being a starter.
Louis Coleman always seems to get overlooked, but has done nothing but pitch well. They also have the hard-throwing Kelvin Herrera, who was seen as the future closer before confidence issues forced him back-and-forth to the minors.
Wade Davis still thinks he is a starter, but pitched so well out of the bullpen two years ago for Tampa Bay. He needs to realize that is where he is best suited, especially after his debacle in 2013. I would think Davis‘ 2014 salary of $4.8 million would make him a player the Royals would be looking to trade, though he does have three option years coming up that are fairly cheap.
Then there are minor leaguers Michael Mariot and Donnie Joseph, who both have solid Triple-A numbers. Oh and do not forget Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura, who may be forced to the bullpen if their command does not improve.
I have always like Crow and Collins and would hate to see them go, especially considering the Royals track record for making bad trades. I could see the Royals moving Crow over Collins, mainly because the Royals have more right-handed relievers with experience and good numbers than they have lefties. However, hard throwing lefties are more of a hot commodity.
Who do you think will go?