It looks like the Kansas City Royals are determined to overhaul their starting pitching this winter. After already bringing in one new starter in Ervin Santana and signing Jeremy Guthrie to a contract extension, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets that the team is shopping starters Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen to make way for new arms, in the hopes to improve on a league worst team ERA from last season.
The Royals drafted Hochevar, now 29, with the number one overall pick in the 2006 amateur draft, but he has mostly disappointed. Last season he was 8-16 with a 5.73 ERA in 32 starts. He is arbitration eligible so the team could just decline to tender him a contract for 2013, but they’d probably like to get something in return for a guy that they’ve invested a lot of their hopes in over the past six years.
Chen, 35, is a veteran lefty that should have a little value on the trade market, but it still won’t be much, as he 11-14 with a 5.07 ERA last season. He will make $4.5 million in 2013, as the Royals signed him to a two-year extension last offseason.
As for pitchers the Royals could be after, they won’t be expensive free agents like former Royal Zack Grienke, as the team has said they want to keep the payroll around $70 million for 2013, and Grienke is looking to sign one of the richest pitching contracts ever. As we heard last week, however, the team is willing to part with top prospect Wil Myers in a trade to bring in the right guy. James Shields of the Rays and Jon Lester of the Red Sox are possible trade targets.