Kansas City Royals: Who Will Replace Chris Young In Rotation

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) runs the bases after hitting a home run on Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Chris Young (32) -Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) runs the bases after hitting a home run on Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Chris Young (32) -Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /

The Kansas City Royals have a Chris Young problem, and they’re running out of in-house options to fix it.

Following the Royals‘ second consecutive lopsided loss to Toronto on Tuesday, one thing continues to become even more crystal clear than it already has been: It’s time to take Chris Young out of the rotation.

Young went just two and 1/3 innings, and gave up seven hits, four of which were homers, and six earned runs. This was just the latest dreadful start for Young this season, who now sits at 2-8 with a 6.90 ERA.

Young is the worst starter in an already well below average rotation. Replacing him will by no means fix the pitching problem in Kansas City, whose rotation is on pace to allow the most home runs per nine innings in major league history (1.73 HR/9), but at this point, nearly anything is an improvement.

That’s why the team announced on Thursday that Young would not be starting for his slated Sunday appearance.

The problem is, however, that the Royals are quickly running out of options when it comes to a potential replacement. Sure, Rustin Dodd tweeted that Dillon Gee or Brian Flynn would likely get the nod to start on the mound, but let’s take a look at every scenario.

More from Kansas City Royals

The Kansas City Royals organization has made it clear over the course of the season that they would like improvements to the rotation to come from within. Whether it be the return of Kris Medlen or Mike Minor, Kansas City really wanted to avoid dealing more minor league prospects to bolster its starting rotation via a trade.

After setbacks by both pitchers, it seems like if they want to compete, a trade now seems inevitable. Mike Minor was on a rehab assignment, but was shut down in late May after experiencing shoulder problems, and has yet to be cleared to give it another go.

Kris Medlen was pitching at AAA Omaha Tuesday night when he abruptly exited the game after just two and 2/3 innings. According to those at the game, Medlen threw a pitch and immediately walked off the mound, leaving the game in the middle of a count.

On Wednesday morning, the Royals recalled Medlen from his rehab assignment to be evaluated by the major league training staff later in the day, but the general consensus is that the shoulder strain could mean the end of the 2016 season for Medlen.

With their two most viable in-house answers likely out of the question, it may be time for the Royals to look to the trade market to improve their starting pitching.

Matt Moore is a name who has been increasingly linked with Kansas City over the last week. The Rays pitcher is 5-5 with a 4.54 ERA overall, but has put together a string of strong outings lately and he’s posted a 1.32 ERA and nine strikeouts over his last two outings.

Moore is a fly ball pitcher, which isn’t ideal for a team who is already giving up homers at a record pace. His recent success on the mound will only increase the number of suitors, making him a harder target to land.

On top of that, Moore has a team friendly contract, with a low salary and team options over the next three years, which likely allows Tampa Bay to ask for more in return in terms of prospects, which the Royals already lack.

More from KC Kingdom

Other names linked with the Royals include Oakland’s Rich Hilll (8-3, 2.31 ERA) and Philadelphia’s Jeremy Hellickson (6-6, 3.92 ERA). Whether the Royals decide to trade away more prospects for pitching, and whether they decide they’re a good enough team to be buyers at the deadline remains to be seen, but to be a contender for the World Series, or even the AL Central at this point, Chris Young in the starting rotation is something that just can’t continue to happen.

Dillon Gee is likely the most viable replacement on the 25-man roster for Chris Young. Gee was moved from the bullpen to the rotation during Young’s stint on the DL earlier in the year.

At 3-2 with a 4.05 ERA in 17 appearances (4 starts), Gee’s numbers by no means indicate he’s the savior for this rotation, but it’s better than what Chris Young has brought to the table in 2016.

Next: Five Worst All-Star Selections in Royals History

What do you think? What should the Royals do about their rotation problems?