The defending American League champion Kansas City Royals have their eyes on a World Series title this season, and they added some experienced pitching depth Sunday that could help them accomplish their goal.
The team announced that it agreed to terms on minor league contracts with left-handed pitcher Wandy Rodriguez and right-handed pitcher Joba Chamberlain.
Rodriguez pitched for the Texas Rangers earlier this season before he was designated for assignment in July. He boasts a 6-4 record, 4.90 ERA and 1.56 WHIP in 15 starts and allowed 10 home runs in 86.1 innings.
While the numbers don’t jump off the page, Mark Polishuk of MLB Trade Rumors thinks the Royals could use Rodriguez for depth purposes:
Though he’ll currently be slated as minor league depth, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Rodriguez promoted to Kansas City’s rotation. Rodriguez’s modest 1.0 fWAR for 2015 tops every Royals starter except for Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez, so the lefty could be an option if the Royals want a change from the inconsistent Yordano Ventura or the struggling Jeremy Guthrie.
As for Chamberlain, he is primarily remembered for his seven seasons with the New York Yankees. In 2008, he struck out 118 batters in only 100.1 innings and helped solidify the back end of the bullpen.
Despite his impressive peak in pinstripes, Chamberlain finished with an ERA north of 4.30 in four of his eight seasons and has a 4.09 ERA this year in 30 appearances for the Detroit Tigers. His strikeout numbers are also down (15 in 22 innings this year and 59 in 63 innings last year), and lefties have given him particular trouble in 2015 with a .419 batting average against.
If the Royals do eventually use him at the major league level, expect it to be primarily against right-handers in specified roles. They already have Kelvin Herrera, Greg Holland and Wade Davis anchoring the bullpen, so Chamberlain won’t be counted on in high-leverage situations too often.
The cliche that a team can never have too much pitching is true in a pennant race, and Kansas City likely had that in mind with these signings. If there is an injury or unexpected poor performance in the near future, the Royals have some insurance in these two pitchers.
Rodriguez and Chamberlain also both have postseason appearances on their resumes, so they should be comfortable pitching in a pennant race.
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