The Kansas City Royals have a starting pitcher on a roll. And it's that pitcher who might actually be traded soon before the September 1 deadline for rosters for the playoffs to be frozen. Bruce Chen is on a nice roll for the Royals, who've been hurting for decent starting pitching since Bret Saberhagen was a household name. He's won five in a row for KC and pitched another strong 7 innings last night in the Royals 2-1 win over the Indians. He's also bound to get traded.
Chen cleared waivers earlier this month, and several teams are likely wishing they would have claimed Chen's cheap one-year contract worth $2 million for the whole season (plus incentives). Now the price has likely gone up for any team in need of a starter for the stretch run, since his performance in the month of August has been very strong.
In Chen's last four starts, he's given up only 7 runs in 27 innings. In that time, his ERA has fallen half of a run from 4.43 to 3.94. On the year, Chen is 10-5 with 114.1 innings pitched. He's the type of savvy veteran pitcher who won't strike out a bunch -- although tell that to the 9 Blue Jays he fanned in his last outing -- yet will get the job done down the stretch. As teams clamor for the last playoff spots up for grabs, Chen would be a fine addition to any of the remaining playoff contenders.
As for the Royals, they might be able to trade one more veteran for more future prospects if they feel so inclined. Chen's been through waivers, so they're free to deal him to any team that they want. What KC will undoubtedly want is a pitching prospect in return, but given Chen's recent performance, it should be a decent return -- even with just one month left in the season.