The MLB trade deadline is creeping up and leaving teams less than a month before August 1st halts any trades for the remainder of the season. It is evident that the Kansas City Royals need to pick up a starting pitcher, and with just a few weeks left to do so, they need to make a move.
It was obvious last year the Royals won the trade deadline by picking up Johnny Cueto, but with him gone, it looks as if there are gaps to fill on the mound. The Royals’ rotation has been mediocre at best this year, and its been their bats that have them sitting in 3rd place of the American League Central.
So far this year Edinson Volquez, their current ace, leads the team in wins with only seven but also has eight losses. Their third in command, Ian Kennedy, has a team best 3.97 ERA, while Chris Young has an ERA of 6.90. Young was also recently pulled from the starting rotation. Needless to say, their starting rotation is chaotic and needs a serious refresh button.
There’s also a big, pink elephant in the room named Yordano Ventura. Not only has Ventura been a huge disappointment this season, but he also brings a negative attitude, as well as a big target on his chest as a “not-so-likable” guy after his brawl with Baltimore’s Manny Machado earlier this year. To top it off, Ventura also sprained his ankle a few days ago. Ventura went from being their ace that they could rely on last year, to one of their worst pitchers this year. Did I use the word chaotic?
The Oakland A’s should become synonymous with the Royals’ trade deadline moves this year. The Royals need pitching, and the A’s offer two prime candidates on the trade block that would fit the Royals’ rotation perfectly in Rich Hill and Sonny Gray.
Ever since I saw Hill debut with the Cubs in 2005, I have always been a fan of him. He has never been a top-tier ace or a household name amongst the casual baseball fan. His numbers tend to blend in with the hundreds of other decent but not great pitchers in the MLB. So, why do I like him so much?
Watching Hill as a kid was like watching Greg Maddux in the 90’s. He can make even the most experienced veteran look like a child with his junk when has command of it, and he usually does. He already has 90 strikeouts on the year, so he’s proven that he can buckle batters’ knees with his off-speed curve, change and slider.
Hill has also has been in the league for quite some time, so adding a 12-year veteran to the roster could provide the experience and knowledge that Ben Zobrist offered to the team last year. Although he has never won the top prize, having a guy who’s been there and done that for many years is always a positive aspect.
The left-handed starter is also having a promising year this year. He is currently 9-3 out of his 13 starts, has a 2.25 ERA, and has only given up two dingers thus far. Though he won’t throw a complete game, he will eat up innings as a starter, averaging close to six innings a game this year.
Sonny Gray has been infamous ever since his College World Series days at Vanderbilt in 2011, leading Vanderbilt to their first ever trip to Omaha. Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin called Gray, “one of the most talented and competitive pitchers that I have ever coached.”
The 26-year-old is also a young arm that could potentially have a long and successful career if he stays healthy. Since he is only in his fourth year in his career, he can go deep into games to save some innings from the bullpen. Right now, he is only averaging a little over five innings per game, but with a couple more years in the weight room, he could bump that up to right around seven.
Gray is unfortunately having the worst year in his career thus far, with a 3-8 record and a whopping 5.16 ERA. However, the former commodore has a winning record of 36-28. His career average ERA is 3.23, and he averages almost 123 punch-out’s a season. Give this kid some time and he will continue to improve upon his stats.
The Kansas City Royals are in need of some new arms in their pitching rotation.While they have a solid bullpen, adding new faces to the mound could be the key to turn this season around. If they are willing to give up someone to clear some cap space, they could land one or even both of these pitchers to solve their immediate problem, as well as help them in the long run.
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