Royals: Brandon Maurer should be added as insurance

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 4: Brandon Maurer
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 4: Brandon Maurer /

The Royals added some bullpen depth at the trade deadline. Brandon Maurer may become more valuable sooner rather than later.

The Kansas City Royals bullpen has undergone some changes over the last year. Then-closer Wade Davis was traded to the Chicago Cubs, leaving the role to Kelvin Herrera. Herrera hasn’t been the best pitcher. The Royals added depth by trading for Brandon Maurer, who could be pitching in the ninth inning in the short-term future.

Herrera, the Royals current closer, left Tuesday’s game with right forearm tightness. He allowed two walks and a hit before being removed from the game. He admitted to feeling some tingling in his forearm and will be undergoing further tests.

The first thing that comes to mind with that kind of injury is Tommy John surgery. While there have been other pitchers that had numbness or tightness and didn’t need surgery, the odds are unfortunately leaning that way.

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Looking at his performance for the season, it could explain some things, but not everything. Herrera has a 3.97 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 26 saves so far. He also has an 8.7 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and eight home runs allowed, all close to career worsts.

If the news on Herrera comes back negative (in the sense of it not being good news), then Maurer gets a boost in fantasy value. He was the de facto closer with the San Diego Padres and can get the job done.

Although, he had a 5.72 ERA and 1.195 WHIP with the Padres this season. He did record 20 saves with an 8.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. He obviously doesn’t allow a lot of walks but the number of hits make up most of his WHIP.

Things haven’t looked good for Maurer since joining the Royals. He has a 7.59 ERA, 2.344 WHIP, 11.0 K/9 and 5.9 BB/9 in 10.2 innings. It is a small sample size based on innings but that’s all we have to go on.

Unfortunately for the Royals, and fantasy owners, they have no one else to take over the closer role if needed. Scott Alexander has had a decent season, 2.42 ERA, 1.288 WHIP, 7.4 K/9, and 3.5 BB/9. He doesn’t have any closer experience and, as one of two frequently-used lefties, I don’t expect him to pitch in the ninth.

With the Royals looking for one last shot at a World Series title, the Royals will likely go with someone who’s had experience in that position than someone with better numbers.

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Since the trade, fantasy owners have been dropping Maurer week after week. His ownership percentage is down to 15.4 percent in ESPN leagues. If you own Herrera or are looking for late-season saves, Maurer is someone to target.