Best fit for the Royals among remaining free agents
Are the Royals done signing free agents? Who could Kansas City still realistically pursue?
It hasn’t been flashy, but the Kansas City Royals have made a series of moves this offseason that they hope makes them more competitive in 2017.
Jorge Soler, Nate Karns and Pete O’Brien all look to make an impact for the Royals during their first season in Kansas City. But are there still some players out there on the open market that may be contributors for the Royals in 2017?
Here’s our list:
The Royals’ former closer is still out there, reportedly looking for a two-year deal with an opt-out clause after the first year.
Between 2011 and 2014, Holland was one of the top closers in baseball, posting a 1.86 ERA over 256 innings. He cooled off in 2015 – his ERA rose to 3.83 and his WHIP, which was .87 in 2013 and .91 in 2015, shot up to 1.46 – before succumbing to an elbow injury that caused him to miss all of last year.
The big question with Holland, a Scott Boras client, is what would it take to sign him? Former San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson, who had a similar situation after missing all of the 2013 season, signed a two-year deal with the Dodgers for $19.5 million. Los Angeles cut Wilson after just one season, though, and ate the final $9.5 million they owed Wilson.
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Jae-Gyun Hwang, 3B/SS
A star in Korea, Hwang had a career year last season, posting a .330 BA/.391 OBP/.949 OPS line .
The 29-year-old infielder slugged 26 home runs in 118 games with the Lotte Giants of the KBO.
Hwang also showed some speed in 2016, stealing 24 bases and walked 64 times against 47 strikeouts.
With the Royals, he could provide depth in the infield and possibly compete for at-bats at DH with O’Brien and Cheslor Chuthbert. Hwang reportedly has a four-year offer back in Korea, but would like to test himself against in Major League Baseball.
Here’s a Hwang highlight from the KBO. At the very least, the man has mad bat-flipping skills. (It’s at the 47-second mark.)
Yes, Carter obviously has some flaws in his swing, whiffing an astronomical total 357 times the past two seasons. But even with his league-high 206 strikeouts in 2016, he posted a not-horrible .321 on-base percentage.
Carter’s got legit power. He hit 37 homers in 145 games for the Astros in 2014, 24 in 129 games again for Houston in 2015 and 41 for Milwaukee last year. That was tied for the best in the National League. And since he was non-tendered, he won’t cost a draft pick. There’s worse one-year gambles out there.