The Royals are looking to be active on the free agent market for bullpen arms this upcoming offseason.
The Royals are looking to compete in 2022 with many of KC’s top prospects looking to settle into the big leagues. However, the Royals might want to consider adding a veteran bullpen arm or two. Kansas City has already brought up the possibility of Mike Minor joining the bullpen next season. Even if the Royals move Minor to the bullpen, they still must fill in the remaining holes in the pen. Here are some relievers I think would make sense for the Royals.
1. Archie Bradley
Bradley has bounced around the league recently between the Diamondbacks, Reds and Phillies. The 29-year-old has had a career year in 2021 for the Phillies with a 3.38 ERA in 42.2 innings pitched in 44 games thus far this season. These stats aren’t eye popping, but I believe Bradley could fit in the middle part of the Royals bullpen with a fastball in the mid 90s. Bradley’s three other pitches include a sinker, curveball (with a knuckleball grip), and a change up. The right hander is best known for his change up, “a real worm killer.” In my opinion, the Royals could sign Bradley to a two-year deal worth between $10-12 million.
2. Sean Doolittle
Like Bradley, Doolittle has bounced around the league as well; however, Bradley has better stats. It’s important to remember that Doolittle was an important bullpen piece for the Washington Nationals’ World Series team in 2019. Unfortunately for Doolittle, after his run to the World Series with the Nationals ended, his 2020 season was a disaster for Washington. The 34-year-old (33 years old in 2020) had a 5.87 ERA at the end of the shortened 2020 season. However, 2021 was a better year for Doolittle. Between Seattle and Cincinnati, Doolittle has a 4.46 ERA in 41.1 innings pitched. While I don’t expect him to be a guy a team could rely on to close out games, I still believe he could help a team like the Royals in the middle innings. I believe the Royals could get Doolittle on a one-year deal worth about $4 or $5 million dollars.
3. Jose Alvarez
Unlike Bradley and Doolittle, Alvarez has had a great year for the Giants. In fact, Alvarez has had two great seasons the past two years between the Phillies and the Giants. In 2020, Alvarez posted an ERA of 1.42; however, he only pitched in eight games during the season for Philadelphia. His 2021 season is a different story. Alvarez has a 2.38 ERA in 53 innings pitched in 52 games. In my opinion, Alvarez’s market will be a busy one during the offseason if the Giants don’t pick up his club option, which seems very unlikely. The 32-year-old’s option is a base salary of $1.5 million. If the Giants decide not to pick up Alvarez’s option as expected, I think the Royals should consider signing him at a team friendly price.
The Royals have many decisions regarding the bullpen this offseason. In my opinion, they should sign at least one of these relievers to bolster the bullpen for the 2022 season.