This morning, the Royals have been mentioned as suitors for Boston starter John Lackey. While Lackey has been solid this season (11-7, 3.60 ERA) what makes him interesting is a team option at league minimum for next season, which was triggered by an injury clause in his contract.
That would make Lackey, who has $5 million left on his contract this season, a very cheap replacement for James Shields next season.
For this year, Lackey would also provide an upgrade at the bottom of the Royals rotation for Jeremy Guthrie, or provide a veteran arm to take over if young guns Danny Duffy or Yordano Ventura hit the wall.
The Royals are also said to be interested in yet another left-handed reliever, this time Andrew Miller of Boston. The Royals are one of multiple teams in pursuit, including the Dodgers, though sources in Boston say the odds are less than 50-50 of a deal actually taking place.
Of course, the Royals have the prospects to land both Lackey and Miller in a package deal. If you want to think big, the Royals could even ask for Jonny Gomes, though rumors indicate the Royals have cooled on the Boston outfielder according to MLBTradeRumors.com.
I do find it interesting that Royals are pursuing pitching rather than hitting, which seems to be the team’s biggest need. I also find it strange that the Royals would trade away an effective platoon bat in Danny Valencia (.354/.386/.492 against lefties this season) for Toronto backup catcher Erik Kratz and pitching prospect Liam Hendriks.
Apparently, the team thinks that Christian Colon can pick up the slack as Moose’s platoon partner and a utility infielder.
Kratz is a light-hitting (.198/.226/346) catcher who excels at pitch framing and throwing out base runners, while Hendriks is an Aussie right-hander who has not been able to translate AAA success to the major-league level.
Could the Royals be acquiring pieces (Hendrickson) and opening roster space in a deal for another hitter?