Signing former Padres right-hander or Gallardo would cost KC its first-round Draft pick
By Spencer Fordin
The Royals are reportedly seeking another starting pitcher, and they could be willing to forfeit a 2016 first-round Draft pick to get one.
The Royals and free-agent right-hander Ian Kennedy were making progress on a deal as of Friday morning, according to a report by Jon Heyman of MLB Network. The Royals were pursuing Kennedy and Yovani Gallardo, either of whom would cost Kansas City the No. 24 pick this year, according to a FoxSports.com report on Wednesday.
The Royals have not commented on or confirmed the reports.
Both Kennedy and Gallardo were extended a qualifying offer by their former teams, and Kansas City would forfeit its first-round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft if it were able to entice either veteran starter to sign on the dotted line. Still, the Royals might willing to make that sacrifice, particularly since the qualifying offer -- and the associated Draft-pick compensation -- could be what is limiting the market for these two starters in the first place.
Kennedy, 31, notched a 9-15 record with a 4.28 ERA for the Padres last season, and he's posted a 75-68 record with a 3.98 ERA in 206 big league appearances. Dave Eiland, the Royals' pitching coach, worked with Kennedy when the right-hander was a pitching prospect in the Yankees' farm system.
Gallardo, 29, was an All-Star during the 2010 campaign, and he's spent all but one of his seasons in the National League. Gallardo pitched to a 13-11 record with a 3.42 ERA for the Rangers last season, and he's gone 102-75 with a 3.66 ERA in 247 big league appearances during his career.
The Royals re-signed Chris Young earlier this offseason, but they still have questions at the back of their rotation. Left-hander Danny Duffy and righties Kris Medlen and Dillon Gee appear to be vying for the final two spots in the rotation, but they have each battled injuries or ineffectiveness over the past couple of years, which is why Kansas City's interest in another starter is understandable. Lefty Jason Vargas is recovering from Tommy John surgery he underwent last July, and he could miss the entire season.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.