Kansas City Royals Continue to Add Veteran Arms to Their Pitching Staff

Paul Francis SullivanChief Writer IDecember 12, 2012

GOODYEAR, AZ - FEBRUARY 28:  Dan Wheeler #44 of the Cleveland Indians poses for a portrait during a photo day at Goodyear Ballpark on February 28, 2012 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Rich Pilling/Getty Images)
Rich Pilling/Getty Images

The Kansas City Royals have stuck with their strategy of building up their pitching depth by acquiring veteran relievers George Sherrill and Dan Wheeler.

According to the Associated Press (via Yahoo Sports), the former All-Star Sherrill and one-time Houston Astros reliever Wheeler, both 35, will take their best shot to crack the Royals bullpen.

Sherrill pitched for the Seattle Mariners before coming over to Baltimore in the lopsided Erik Bedard deal that also sent Adam Jones to the Orioles. He made the All-Star team with the 2008 Orioles but had his best overall season in 2009. He split time between the Orioles, where he saved 20 games to a 2.40 ERA, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. In L.A., he let up only two runs in 36 1/3 innings (a 0.65 ERA) helping the Dodgers back to the NLCS.

He had a poor season in 2010, but rebounded in 2011 as a member of the Atlanta Braves. In 2012, the Mariners once again got the short end of the stick with Sherrill as he only recorded five outs before being shut down for Tommy John surgery.

He will come back in 2013 and attempt to be a left-handed option out of the pen for the Royals.

Dan Wheeler was one of the most durable relievers for a stretch in the 2000s. He pitched 70 or more games each year from 2004 to 2008. Along the way, he clinched the final out for the Houston Astros in the 2004 Division Series and the 2005 NLCS.

He also saved Game 1 of the 2008 Division Series for the Rays. His effectiveness has slipped the last few years and spent much of last season in Triple-A Columbus in the Cleveland Indians system.

If Sherrill is healthy, the Royals could catch lightning with depth by adding him to a bullpen that already features good arms, such as Kelvin Herrera, Tim Collins and Greg Holland.

Many people, including David Brown of Yahoo Sports, have criticized the Royals' recent move of dealing top prospect Wil Myers and young pitcher Jake Odorizzi for James Shields and Wade Davis.

But the Royals know they have good young bats and need pitching depth in order to succeed. Some depth can be expensive while others can be gems found in the rough.

If the Royals pitch their way to the postseason with a deep bullpen, they might yet get the last laugh.