With just a week into the new year, it is not too early to start making some 2021 Royals predictions. The Kansas City Royals have already added some new faces to the squad, with the likes of Mike Minor, Michael A. Taylor, and Carlos Santana. Despite these signings, the Royals will need to add more to their roster if they want to seriously contend in the AL Central.
The Royals’ upper management has said multiple times that they do not like using the word “re-build” in the past and want to put the best product on the field.
2021 Royals Predictions: Potential Free Agents
With spring training quickly approaching, there are still free agents available on the market. With the Kansas City roster filling up quickly, they still have room to add. With the pitching rotation looking like one of the youngest in Major League Baseball, they may want to grab a cheap veteran arm that is still on the market. While having Whit Merrifield on the roster, there is still room to add another utility-player who can appear in the outfield and the infield. So, let us get into these 2021 Royals predictions for the final free agents Kansas City could sign. These 2021 Royals predictions are realistic and are potential suitors to fill out the roster this year.
Veteran Arm in Adam Wainwright
Adam Wainwright has spent his entire MLB career with the St. Louis Cardinals and has had lots of success. Wainwright has over 160 wins and a career ERA of 3.38. Even during a shortened season in 2020, Wainwright still had good numbers for a veteran pitcher. Wainwright ended 2020 with a 5-3 record in 10 games, along with collecting over 50 strikeouts. With a 3.15 ERA in 2020, Wainwright recorded his best ERA since the 2014 season when he was an All-Star.
Now, why would the Kansas City Royals sign Adam Wainwright? Easy, Kansas City has a very young pitching staff, both in the rotation and the bullpen. Adding Wainwright on a small deal could help these young arms and give them a veteran arm to help in any situation.
In 2018, Kansas City signed Homer Bailey (who was coming off his worst MLB season) and Bailey pitched well in KC after struggling the prior year. Mike Matheny was also the manager for Wainwright in St. Louis for years so that could incline Wainwright to sign with KC.
Matt Shoemaker: Career Revival
Of the 2021 Royals predictions, this one seems less likely as the days pass. As the Royals signed Ervin Santana to a minor-league deal, Matt Shoemaker could have fit in this spot, despite this, never say never.
Matt Shoemaker had his best season in 2014 with the Los Angeles Angels when he had a 16-4 record and an ERA of 3.04. After that season, it seemed that Shoemaker could help the Angels over the next several seasons. This would not happen, however, as Shoemaker struggled over the next four years with the Angels. In 2016, Shoemaker’s season was cut short due to being struck by a line drive. He was destined to come back in 2017, but that season was also cut short due to injuries.
After signing with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2019, Shoemaker looked like his old self and ended the season 3-0, with a 1.57 ERA. Despite the success, he was injured again and missed most of the season.
Injuries have been the thorn in Shoemaker’s side his entire career and if the Royals wanted to bring him in on a short-term deal, that may give Shoemaker a chance to get back to his old self. In 2020, Shoemaker only appeared in six games and had an ERA of 4.71. Out of these three 2021 Royals predictions, this one seems the least likely.
Utility-Man Jurickson Profar
Jurickson Profar has been linked to the Kansas City Royals since the end of the 2020 season. He spent last season with the San Diego Padres and put up solid numbers, batting .278, with seven home runs, and 25 RBIs. Profar played most of the time at second base, but also saw time in all three outfield positions.
With the Padres signing Ha-Seong Kim from the Korean Baseball Organization, it seems the Padres won’t be bringing back Profar for 2021. That now opens the door for the Royals to sign the switch-hitting utility-man.
If the Royals do make this deal, Profar could platoon with Nicky Lopez at second base and Whit Merrifield could be the team’s everyday right-fielder. Profar could replace now-retired Alex Gordon in left field. The outfield is now crowded with young players in Franchy Cordero, Edward Olivares, and Michael A. Taylor.
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