The Kansas City Royals will be more competitive in 2021 than they were last season, as their MLB free agency efforts show. But the team will likely reach .500 at best, as they still have a way to go before reaching the playoffs once more.
The team has some veteran additions that will help many young players like Adalberto Mondesi, Whit Merrifield, and Brad Keller. But the club won’t be fully ready to compete with the Minnesota Twins, the Chicago White Sox, and Cleveland Indians just yet.
Here’s a look at what you can expect from the Royals based on some of the free agency efforts they put in this year.
Additions of Note
The Kansas City Royals brought in Mike Minor from the Oakland Athletics to fill in their rotation. Minor will likely be behind Danny Duffy and Brad Keller on the rotation. Minor went 1-6 with a 5.52 ERA last season.
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) February 14, 2021
He hasn’t been the same as he was in his early days with the Atlanta Braves, but the Royals have hopes he will find his way back in Kansas City. He has a two-year contract, so he has time to prove himself once more. Minor’s veteran experience could also help build prospect Kris Bubic into a better all-around player.
The team also has two new starters on offense. Outfielder Michael A. Taylor joins the Royals from the Washington Nationals this season. Taylor had five home runs and sixteen RBI in last year’s abbreviated season.
First baseman Carlos Santana also joins the Royals from Cleveland. Santana had eight home runs and thirty RBI in 2020. Expect Santana and Taylor to do well with Merrifield, Mondesi, and Jorge Soler in producing runs this season.
Wade Davis will also enter the Royals roster on the bullpen this season. Davis has moved on to being a middle reliever after starting his career as a starting pitcher.
He did not see much action last year, as he had four innings of work in five games. He might start the season with the AAA-level Omaha Storm Chasers.
Relief pitcher Greg Holland will also return with a one-year contract. Holland is one of the better closers in the sport, and he is aiming to get at least twenty saves this season.
There’s a potential Holland could compete with Liam Hendriks of the Chicago White Sox for the most saves in the AL Central this season, although setup man Josh Staumont may play a sizeable role in save situations.
This Season’s Departures
The Royals saw a few departures on the MLB free agency market. Relief pitcher Glenn Sparkman left for Minnesota this offseason. Sparkman had attempted to be a starting pitcher, but he moved on to bullpen work and has now parted ways with the Royals after a few seasons. Fellow reliever Kevin McCarthy also left this offseason for the Boston Red Sox.
The Royals declined to tender a contract with second baseman Erick Mejia. The team also has chosen not to resign relievers Ian Kennedy, Mike Montgomery, and Matt Harvey. All three of those pitchers have seen reduced results the past few years, with a few of them moving from being starting pitchers to relievers.
Where Will the Royals Go?
The Kansas City Royals have put in a good bit of effort in building a better team for 2021. They were active during the MLB free agency period in bringing in some better players to help support their younger stars.
But the team will need to do more to be competitive in a top-heavy AL Central division. You can still expect the Royals to be somewhat better this season and to possibly go for a .500 record.
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