Royals Add Pitcher Kris Medlen, DFA GiavotellaFollow @RoyalsBlue_com
Ken Rosenthal reported on Thursday that the Royals have agreed with right-handed pitcher Kris Medlen on a 2 year deal. The 29 year old Medlen has previously had 2 rounds of Tommy John surgery, and missed the 2014 season due to the most recent. He will earn $2 million in 2015, $5.5 million in 2016 and there is a $10 million mutual option for 2017 or a $1 million buyout making the deal worth $8.5 million guaranteed. There are large performance bonus' included in this deal as well, which could push the deal up an additional $10 million in the first 2 seasons.
Medlen provides an excellent low risk low cost option for the Royals. While he will most likely require some time to recover from his most recent surgery, he has had an excellent career when healthy. Over the course of 5 seasons with the Atlanta Braves, he has compiled a 2.95 ERA over 152 games, 61 of which were starts. During that stretch he struck out 7.6 batters per 9 innings pitched and had a WHIP of 1.155.
With any luck, Medlen will quickly regain his form and give the Royals yet another option in the starting rotation should someone become injured or prove ineffective. While he may be given a chance to win a rotation spot upon his return, that would seem unlikely with the rotation seeming already set (barring injury) with the most recent acquisition of Edinson Volquez, and Medlen most likely will not be ready to pitch until June anyway.
While the second round of Tommy John has proven a little trickier to fully recover from historically, this is an excellent risk for the Royals to take, one that may end up netting them a quality starter for a season or more who has had excellent success in the past.
It may seem strange that the riskiest and lowest cost acquisition the Royals have made over the last few weeks is the most exciting, but it certainly has the capability to be the one with the highest ceiling.
The Royals have also designated Johnny Giavotella for assignment to clear room for the addition of Medlen. Giavotella never was able to gain traction with the Royals big league club and batted .238/.277/.334 in 465 plate appearances.
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