The Royals Are Big Spenders This Offseason, and Will Smith Looks To Go 4/4
G.M. J.J. Picollo has kept busy this winter
Not that Will Smith.
In the first of a few big signings for the team this week, the Kansas City Royals have inked reliever Will Smith to a 1-year deal worth $5 million. The move is somewhat of a full-circle moment for Smith, who began his career in 2012 with Kansas City. Since then, he’s been a journeyman across major league bullpens, having made stops in Milwaukee, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, and last season with the Rangers. Now on his 4th team in as many seasons, the southpaw will attempt to make history by becoming the first player to win a World Series in 4 consecutive seasons, on four different teams. Maybe a change of scenery will help Smith, who was having an excellent season in Arlington last year, but faded as the playoffs approached, eventually losing his hold on the closer role.
The Royals currently sit somewhere between +15000 - +20000 odds to win the World Series, but with how abysmal the AL Central has been in recent years, who knows? It’s not outlandish to think that they could be competitive for the division title. Crazier things have happened. The club has certainly had an active winter in which they’ve made it clear that they are intent on changing their losing ways - let’s take a look at some of the other new additions:
Smith will be joined by a familiar face in his move from Arlington to Kansas City - the Royals also signed right-handed reliever Chris Stratton this week. Stratton is coming off a season which began as a member of the Mariners and concluded with the Rangers - he was a solid option out of the pen for both clubs, posting a 3.92 ERA and 1.137 WHIP across 64 appearances.
Kansas City also beefed up their starting rotation this week, acquiring 2 members of the 2023 San Diego rotation: Michael Wacha and Seth Lugo. Wacha, who is coming off a resurgent past 2 seasons, signed after the Padres declined his option. His deal is worth $32 million over 2 years.
Lugo inked a 3-year deal worth $45 million. Lugo went back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen during his 7 years in Queens, but fared well last season in his lone season with the Padres. Coming off a year in which he went 8-7 with a 3.57 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, Lugo should slot into the middle of the rotation as a steady, veteran option.
Coming off a season in which their pitching staff had an ERA of 5.17, good for 3rd worst in the bigs, any bit helps.
And they’re not done yet! In addition to the above-referenced arms, KC also signed Hunter Renfroe to a 1-year deal worth $5.5 million, with a $7.5 million player option for 2025. The veteran outfielder will bring some pop to the KC order, coming off an average year in which he hit 20 home runs, knocked in 60, and hit .233.
Credit to the KC front office for being one of the most active clubs this offseason. They’ve now shelled out over $100 million in guaranteed signing. They’re likely a few years away from competing at a high level, but the aggressive signings must bode well with a fan base that has had little to be optimistic about.
Oh, and I should probably take this moment to introduce myself to the Skipper’s View world. My name is Ed Prindiville, and I just joined the team last week. I’m based in NYC and am a lifelong Yankees fan. For the Skipper’s View, I’ll be covering MLB, fantasy baseball, and a bit of European soccer - if you’re also a fan of the beautiful game, reach out! I support Liverpool and the Netherlands national team, but am always happy to chat in general soccer or Fantasy Premier League.