SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 05: John Mayberry Jr. #15 of the Philadelphia Phillies rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run in the fourth inning off of Jonathan Sanchez #57 of the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 5, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Two names sit high atop most lists of free agent pitchers and it's no surprise that the Royals are linked to both C.J. Wilson of the Texas Rangers and Japanese import Yu Darvish.
The Kansas City Royals have the bats. Whether it was Melky Cabrera's unexpected career year, Alex Gordon's anticipated breakout season or the emergence at the pro level of Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas among a host of others, the Royals look good enough at the plate to contend for the AL Central crown. The glaring problem on the roster is the starting pitching. That's going to be enough to keep the Royals at or near the basement unless they make a major move.
That's what makes this year's free agent crop so alluring for the Royals. Two names sit high atop most lists of free agent pitchers and it's no surprise that the Royals are linked to both C.J. Wilson of the Texas Rangers and Japanese import Yu Darvish. While the Royals might miss out on both, they will, at the very least, continue to be linked through the rest of the offseason.
MLB Trade Rumors' Tim Dierkes lists the Royals as players for Wilson and writes, "Wilson's poor postseason may have damaged his stock slightly, but in his defense he racked up 250 innings over 39 starts this season in total and started 37 games in 2010... Front-of-the-rotation starting pitching is a big need for many teams, including the Nationals, Marlins, Royals, Blue Jays, Yankees, Red Sox, and Cubs."
As for Darvish, he's more of an x-factor on the free agent market but if he's available, the Royals should make a play. Dierkes writes, "Darvish is not technically a free agent, and in fact he hasn't even decided about being posted at this point. If he does come over from Japan, a $100MM commitment will likely be required. The Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Nationals, Mariners, and Royals could put in bids, and it wouldn't be surprising to see a few 'mystery teams' enter the fray."
The Royals need to find something -- anything -- to anchor the top of a rotation that hasn't had an ace since trading Zack Greinke. Darvish or Wilson would do wonders for a team that needs that frontline starter to help ascend the hill of the AL Central.