Significant changes are taking place with the Kansas City Royals, but they’re simply more subtle than other more media-friendly moves. This will be the first of numerous articles that further detail how the Royals are trimming the fat from their budget and why. Today, we’re starting with a rather disconcerting loss in former Royals starter Felipe Paulino.
After being outrighted by KC on November 20, Paulino opted for free agency. The decision not to pursue a contract with him, at least in my humble opinion, would be questionable. Paulino was pitching incredibly well before needing Tommy John surgery, and the price to return him to KC should still be low.
For one month and one day in 2012, Felipe Paulino was a Cy Young-caliber pitcher. In his seven starts that year before the torn UCL, Paulino recorded a 1.67 ERA with 39 strikeouts in 37.2 innings. The year before, Paulino still pitched 124.2 innings and posted a 4.11 ERA with that same injury limiting his effectiveness.
Tommy John surgery has come a long way in a short time. Rehabilitation takes less and less time, and the ability to recapture or even exceed your previous ability becomes more and more likely with each new generation of ball players. MLBTradeRumors.com cited Paulino as an intriguing buy-low candidate for other teams, but why shouldn’t the Royals attempt to sign him to a cheap, one-year deal?
It’s obvious that the Royals shouldn’t overpay in this situation, and I’m almost certain that won’t be a problem. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t offer him a deal if Paulino doesn’t find someone else willing to pay him excessively. It isn’t high on the Royals’ list of priorities, but there isn’t a team in the league that isn’t interested in good, cheap pitching. For this exact reason, though, Paulino will probably find more money with another team that’s more desperate for starting pitching.