The Kansas City Royals made news on a relatively slow Tuesday morning in Major League Baseball by signing starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie to a three-year, $25-million contract. The contract is structured so the right-hander will make $5 million in 2013, $11 million in 2014 and $9 million in 2015.
Guthrie was acquired by the Royals last summer in a deal with the Colorado Rockies that sent left-handed starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez back to the National League—a move that turned out just fine for Kansas City.
Sanchez had worn out his welcome during his stint with the Royals and Guthrie compiled a 5-3 record with a 3.16 ERA in 14 starts after the deal. How that success translates over an entire season—or three seasons—in Kansas City remains to be seen.
Joining Guthrie at the top of the team's starting rotation is Ervin Santana, who was brought over from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in a trade earlier in the offseason. While neither projects to put up ace-type numbers, they are expected to anchor a staff that will also feature some combination of Bruce Chen, Luke Hochevar, Jake Odorizzi, Luis Mendoza, Will Smith and newly acquired Chris Volstad.
When Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino are able to return from Tommy John surgery, they stand to be in the picture as well.
If the Royals plan on turning the corner, though, the additions of Guthrie and Santana will need to serve as a means to an end rather than moves that polish off a finished product.
With an exciting corps of positional players in place—and with Minor League Player of the Year Wil Myers on his way—the time is now for Kansas City to return to prominence.
Royals’ owner David Glass stated back in September that he would spend money to improve the team’s starting pitching. While this is a step in the right direction, it is imperative that the checkbook stays open for more big moves.
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