The Kansas City Royals apparently are not done throwing darts. According to CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman, via twitter, the Royals have signed 35-year old right-handed reliever Jon Rauch to a minor league deal.
A week after Dayton Moore inked veteran starter Brad Penny, he added another veteran in Rauch. The 6’11″, 290 pounder has a career ERA of 3.90 over 11 years, and a WHIP of 1.240. He has accumulated 62 saves for 8 total teams. In 2013, Rauch appeared in 15 games for the Miami Marlins. In 16.2 ineffectual innings, he posted a 7.56 ERA and a 1.800 WHIP.
It is very difficult to see how Rauch would make the major league team out of Spring Training. At this point in his career, he is no more than organizational for the team to maybe cover for any injuries that may creep up with the Royals bullpen. Rauch will try to improve his value for future opportunities.
Like the Penny signing, the deal is not only for depth but also for possible trade value. If one or the other finds the fountain of youth and can increase their value, maybe the Royals can trade them for younger talent, although don’t look for top names.
Signing these types of players, in the twilight of their careers, to minor league contracts, doesn’t really cost the team anything. In the best case scenario, they revive their careers, however briefly, and contribute positively to a winning ball club. Worst case, they are completely washed up, and get cut at no cost to the Royals. There is no reason not to take the chance when these type of players come along.