The Kansas City Royals have invested about $15 Million into three relievers this offseason including Will Smith who has over 100 career saves and was considered a strong canidate to close for the Royals in 2024.
Even with the three additions, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the Royals are looking to trade for a closing pitcher.
If the Royals are interested in bringing someone in to compete with Will Smith for the closing job, then Kyle Finnegan, Hunter Harvey, and Giovanny Gallegos would all be good options. That being said, if you're in the market for a "closer" then you are looking a tier or two higher in terms of quality.
Four Closers the Royals Must Target for a Competitive 2024
1. Tanner Scott
The Miami Marlins are keeping their ears open when it comes to trade talks for starting pitching. With a new Head of Baseball Operations Peter Bendix taking over and the history of the Marlins, they could be looking at a complete overhaul.
Scott has 33 saves over the past two seasons. He isn't the most experienced closer on this list, but has the stuff to be a legitimate option and is currently expected to serve as the Marlins' closer.
Going into 2024 with his career 12.2 K/9 Scott will be making only $5.8 Million, making him a perfect fit for the Royals.
2. A.J. Puk
Another Marlin that doesn't have a ton of innings logged as a closer, but experience may not be what J.J. Picollo is looking for. Puk is a superb arm talent under team control for three years.
The Marlins are planning to stretch him out to be a starter in 2024 but with little movement on the trade market for the starting pitchers they are currently shopping, they may be more inclined to move Puk and keep the proven starters.
Puk was just acquired by Miami in 2023 for J.J. Bleday, but that was under Kim Ng who has since left the team. With continued steps forward, the Royals could lean on Puk to close in 2024 and at worse be a solid piece in the bullpen for years to come.
3. Kenley Jansen
The Boston Red Sox have made it clear they want to shed payroll, specifically by using Kenley Jansen as a trade option. The Royals should pounce on this opportunity to get a guy who can be a top closing pitcher in this league.
Before Jansen, Boston had one of the worst bullpens in the league. In just one year, he solidified the back end of the bullpen and allowed the rest of the group to do their jobs easier. Having a guy like Jansen take the ninth gives the manager much more flexibility with other key relievers throughout a game.
Veteran Chris Martin was the team's second option and was phenomenal, posting a 1.05 ERA while being used in lots of crucial spots. In Kansas City, Jansen could do the exact same with newly-acquired Will Smith, allowing manager Matt Quantro to control his bullpen and put his guys in the best opportunities possible.
With a $16 million dollar salary it would show a big commitment from ownership but with some prospects, they could probably get the Red Sox to eat some of the salary.
4. David Robertson
David Robertson is a free agent, so he doesn't fit in the trade narrative from Rosenthal's report. That said, if they are unable to find a trade partner, he could be a great pivot.
FanGraphs predicts Robertson to control a one-year, $8 million contract which should be doable for the Royals. From an ERA standpoint, his year took a huge drop off after his trade from the Mets to the Marlins, but if you dive a little deeper into the stats he wasn't that bad.
Robertson is an experienced closer with 175 career saves, so if the Royals don't fully trust Will Smith in a closer role, he is a great option as a trusted closer.
We'll see what moves the Royals may make but for now, you can claim an INSTANT $158 bonus from BetMGM with any $5 bet today! Sign up, deposit at least $10 and bet $5 or more on any game right now and you'll receive $158 in bonus bets win or lose. Lock in an automatic bonus and sign up for BetMGM now!
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