Luke Hochevar has never quite become the player the Kansas City Royals have hoped. In that way he is a bit like Stuart Broad, though Broad has had longer periods of excellence. But both are right now living off promise. Both have shown immense talent and both have shown clearly of what they are capable in the past. But all too often both return figures of 0-60 off twelve overs (metaphorically, in Hochevar’s case). For Hochevar, the Royals have decided to give that promise and that talent another year at least to show itself properly.
There was a strong suggestion at the end of this season though that they might non-tender Hochevar, however. It was only ever a rumour in the end, but unlike some it was a rumour that made sense. After a failed attempt to be the team’s ace last year, Hochevar had a string of dominant starts this year. But like so many other times in his career this purple patch faded and it is a mark of how poorly he did over the rest of the season that he finished it with a 5.73 ERA despite a run of giving up only 14 earned runs in 39.1 innings over the span of an entire month in very late May and most of June.
The Royals do need pitching, and Hochevar is undoubtedly talented. But it was not unreasonable to think that whoever the Royals got in the offseason might not leave room for Hochevar in the rotation and this still might be the case. The Royals are still looking for one more starter and with Jeremy Guthrie, Ervin Santana, Bruce Chen and Jake Odorizzi all already set to vie for rotation spots next spring another addition will ensure that somebody misses out and it would not be out of the question for that person to be Hochevar.