Today is the arbitration deadline for players at 10pm Central Time, so the Kansas City Royals will have to officially declare sometime today what they plan to do with free agent Bruce Chen. Given the ins and outs, it can seem difficult to understand what that even means but it’s not a big deal really. In short, Chen is termed as a Type B free agent which provides the team that loses him with a compensation pick without costing the team that signs him.
In short, if the Royals lose Chen, then will gain a pick. However given the depth of the farm system and lack of quality major league arms, it’s still not in their best interest to lose him. Chen is a viable starting option in the majors who has enjoyed pitching in KC the last few seasons and can continue to be a stable clubhouse presence while performing at least at a league average level in the rotation. The Royals, simply put, don’t have enough options to let Chen go if they can afford to hold on.
While they could go for other free agents and take the draft pick from Chen, it remains to be seen whether anyone wants to come to Kansas City. Being in the basement in a division does wonders for a team’s reputation, so it might take a couple of actual winning seasons rather than sheer promise for free agents to believe in KC as a solid destination to choose. Free agency is a free for all and the Royals might be lucky to get one more solid arm convinced enough to sign. That’s also the reason the Nationals had to spent so much to lure Jayson Werth. Some places just aren’t desirable (yet).
All of that makes Chen the best option to keep in house.