Kansas City Royals: Bullpen roles not established for Royals relievers

(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

It’s no secret that the Kansas City Royals’ bullpen has struggled over the past few weeks. One of the main reasons for that is that no one, aside from Kelvin Herrera, really has a set role in the bullpen.

When the Kansas City Royals had the best bullpen in the major leagues in 2014 and 2015, it was because all of those guys in that pen had a set role. It was a known fact that Greg Holland was the closer, Wade Davis was the set-up man, and Kelvin Herrera had the seventh inning.

Luke Hochevar was someone who came in to put out fires, Franklin Morales was the designated left-handed phenom, and Kris Medlen and Chris Young were two guys who became the long relievers. Every reliever had a role and that’s what made that Royals bullpen so darn good.

This season, as much as we want it to be back to that elite status, it isn’t anywhere close and probably never will be again. Royals fans were spoiled with two unbelievable bullpens during that time and it’s something that is extremely rare.

The only Royals reliever who has a set role now is Kelvin Herrera, and that’s the closer role. Herrera hasn’t been as good as he was in 2014-2016, but he’s normally pretty good in save situations, only blowing three saves this season. For what it’s worth, Greg Holland has more blown saves and they’ve all come in the second half of the season (and we witnessed one on Wednesday night).

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As for the rest of the Kansas City Royals relievers, they’re all kind of just there, waiting to be called on. Brandon Maurer, who came in with 20 saves with the Padres, was likely brought in to be the set-up man for Herrera, but he’s been horrendous. Would anyone trust him to protect a lead for the Royals?

Peter Moylan kind of has a role in that he usually comes in to get out right-handed batters. Sometimes though, he’ll be left on the mound longer than necessary and it spells disaster for the Royals.

While relievers like Scott Alexander and Mike Minor have been good, neither has a set role. When players know what their job is, they’re likely going to perform much better. This Royals bullpen is a jumbled mess and it’s time for Ned Yost to figure out what he wants each guy doing. It’s okay to switch things up if it doesn’t work out, but throwing random guys into the game isn’t going to help anyone.

What do you think each guy’s job in the bullpen should be? Should Minor be the set-up man? What about Alexander? Where would you slot in each guy when it comes to relief pitching?