We are just barely over a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting for Spring Training. It’s amazing how quickly the offseason flies by when your team wins you an extra month of baseball. As we all know, the Royals netted their big fish, Alex Gordon, last week. Looking forward, the Royals’ front office is hunting pitching depth. The two headliners left in the FA pool are Yovani Gallardo and Ian Kennedy. Both pitchers are in the $3-5 million/year range and both would cost the Royals a compensation pick.
Ian Kennedy would be a steady choice for the Royals. Kennedy pitched for the Padres for the last 3 seasons. He’s a workhorse, making at least 30 starts per year. His ERA has hovered around 4 for the past few seasons, but he averages 8.3 strikeouts per 9 innings and has a good fly ball percentage that will obviously play well at the K. Though Kennedy makes all of his starts, he doesn’t have much length, only averaging 5.6 innings per start last season. I don’t foresee this being a problem with KC’s depth in the pen. Ian Kennedy has a relationship with pitching coach Dave Eiland from their days with the Yankees.
Yovani Gallardo would come to us by way of the Rangers where he played for just one year after spending the entirety of his MLB career with the Brewers. Gallardo, too, has started at least 30 times in his last 6 seasons. He has a lower career ERA at 3.66, but has transitioned into more of a ground ball pitcher in the past few seasons. Again, the KC defense plays well with contact pitchers, so I wouldn’t be too worried about his lower strike out rates (though it would obviously be nice if he would ramp the SO’s back up). As with Kennedy, Gallardo is already familiar with some of the staff, having played for Ned Yost and Dale Sveum when the two were in Milwaukee.
Ken Rosenthal reports that the Royals are “serious” about signing Kennedy, but also notes that we are actively talking to Gallardo. Either pitcher would fit nicely into the middle of the Royals’ rotation. Knowing GMDM, he will instead pull out a pitcher from the depths of some team’s trash heap and make him a star. Now we wait.
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