Right-handed pitcher Jeremy Guthrie throws for the Royals.
The team finished third in their division with a record of 72-90. That’s a record almost identical to last season’s 71-91. Still, it was an improvement from the previous two years when the team didn’t even get to 70 wins.
What will it take for the Royals to be better than "not terrible" next year?
They’ll need to make some changes to their roster, particularly when it comes to their starting pitching.
The Royals were ranked among the worst in the league in batting average against (.270) and ERA (4.30) this season.
Left-hander Bruce Chen was the only starter to get double-digit wins (11-14, 5.07 ERA).
If the Royals can acquire a couple of solid starting pitchers, they’ll definitely improve their chances of making it to the playoffs next year…or at least of having a winning season.
The Royals claimed Chris Volstad from the Cubs off waivers recently to fill the roster. But a pitcher with a 6.31 ERA who finished with a 3-12 record this season? That’s not the kind of acquisitions KC should be making.
So who should the Royals get?
Here are a few available starters who Kansas City might consider bringing on board for next year.
Dan Haren throws in a September game against the Chicago White Sox.
Dan Haren is a right-hander who’s started for the Angels for the last two seasons. This year, Haren went just 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA. To be fair, he was battling some back problems throughout the season.
The 32-year-old has a $15.5 million option for 2013 that the Angels probably won’t pick up after the somewhat disappointing season he’s had.
But a healthy Haren could be a nice addition to the Royals' suffering bullpen. Two years ago, Haren was 16-10 for the Angels with a 3.17 ERA and 192 strikeouts (10th in the league).
If the Royals picked up Haren, he’d make the Royals starting rotation much stronger (as long as he's healthy).
Kyle Lohse sits in the dugout in a postseason game against the San Francisco Giants.
Kyle Lohse is another right-handed starter on the market. He’s been with the St. Louis Cardinals since the 2008 season.
Lohse is a free agent, and the Cardinals aren’t expected to re-sign him for next season, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. That’s good news for teams like the Royals that are in need of some pitching.
Lohse seems to be gaining steam as his career goes on. From a career 4.45 ERA, Lohse has kept it below four over the last two years.
He put up the best numbers of his 11-year career this past season, going 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA.
If he could throw like he did in either of his past two years with the Royals, he’d be a steal for Kansas City.
Anibal Sanchez throws in Game 3 of the 2012 World Series against the San Francisco Giants.
Anibal Sanchez split his 2012 season between Miami and Detroit. He went just 9-13 and had a decent ERA of 3.86.
His best season came in his rookie year with the Marlins when he went 10-3 with a 2.83 ERA. Sanchez has been an average pitcher otherwise, with a 3.75 career ERA.
Sanchez will be a free agent in the offseason and could turn out to be another potential steal for the Royals.
He threw 167 strikeouts last season. Despite his 1-2 record in the postseason, he struck out 18 batters in just over 20 innings, sporting a 1.77 ERA.
If he can pitch like that in the playoffs, Sanchez is more than capable of putting up some quality starts for the Royals in the regular season.