Kris Bubic is off to AAA Omaha to start the 2021 season. What does this mean for the KC Royals’ rotation?
In a bit of surprising news, Kris Bubic is going to start the 2021 season in the minor leagues for the Kansas City Royals. It’s surprising mostly because fans expected to him start with the big league squad after having made his debut last year but Bubic definitely has a lot to work on before he can truly become a reliable starter for this group.
This news could make people think that Bubic won’t be a starter in the first month or so of the season, but that’s not necessarily the case.
Due to the number of days off in the first week and a half of the season, it’s not unfathomable to think that the Royals plan to just roll with four starters (Brad Keller, Danny Duffy, Mike Minor, and Brady Singer) and then bring Bubic up to the big leagues when they need a fifth starter. This would also give the Royals a chance to carry an extra reliever to begin the season.
Bubic did have a tough time in spring training, however, sporting an ERA over eight through 7.1 innings pitched. He definitely struggled and sending him to the minors for a few weeks is a smart decision.
Maybe Bubic doesn’t get the fifth spot in the rotation like we thought he would. Perhaps someone like Jakob Junis, who was demoted from the rotation to the bullpen late last season, could swoop in and earn that fifth spot. Most of us figured that Junis would be a reliever this year, but he’s having a nice spring, posting a 1.80 ERA in five innings pitched.
The KC Royals have high hopes for Kris Bubic, so this move might not mean a whole lot.
The most likely explanation for optioning Bubic to AAA is for the Royals to have the ability to carry an extra reliever for the first week and a half of the season. None of the other starting pitchers, aside from Junis, have really put up dazzling numbers in spring training, so it’s not like Jackson Kowar or Daniel Lynch came in and stole his spot.
No, this appears to be more of a strategic move by the Royals, ensuring they have plenty of relievers for the first nine games of the 2021 season. It’ll also give Kris Bubic time to work on his command in the minor leagues so that when his time does come to pitch in the majors this year, he’s ready for it.