The Kansas City Royals may be trying to compete next season, and they’ve signed Mike Minor to be an anchor for their starting rotation.
The Kansas City Royals have not had a winning season since they won the World Series in 2015, but they’ve taken a step toward changing that in 2021. According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Royals have signed left-hander Mike Minor to a multi-year deal. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported the deal is for two years. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was first to report the deal.
This will be Minor’s second stint with the Royals. He made 65 relief appearances for them in 2017, with a 2.55 ERA, a 10.2 K/9 and a 2.5 BB/9 over 77.2 innings. He parlayed that into a three-year, $28 million deal with the Texas Rangers, where he became a starter again. In 2019, he pitched to a 3.59 ERA over a career-best 208.1 innings (32 starts) as he earned an All-Star selection and finished eighth in the AL Cy Young voting.
The 2020 campaign was not as good for Minor. He had a 5.56 ERA over 56.2 innings (12 appearances-11 starts), with a trade to the Oakland Athletics at the deadline. His peripheral numbers were a mixed bag, with a 9.8 K/9 and a 3.10 K/BB along with increases in his home run rate (15.7 percent, via FanGraphs) and hard-hit percentage (40.4 percent; from 30.4 percent in 2019 according to Statcast). Statcast had his fastball spin rate in the 97th percentile though, which is a bright spot.
Mike Minor adds a veteran presence to Royals starting rotation
Minor will join Danny Duffy as the experienced hands to lead the Royals’ rotation, with Brad Keller, Brady Singer, Kris Bubic, Jakob Junis, Carlos Hernandez for depth. Daniel Lynch and Jackson Kowar, the No. 3 and No. 4 prospects in their system (a top-10 system in baseball, as ranked by MLB.com), may be close to making their big league debuts.
Perhaps as a nod to that depth of options in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan has offered the possibility of Minor as a candidate to be Kansas City’s closer.
Minor’s only significant time as a reliever in his career was with the Royals in 2017. It’s easy for them to overthink it based on the success he had that year. But Minor is a starter, and that’s where he belongs unless there are well-founded concerns about his durability.