Royals interested in Minor as starter or reliever

Royals interested in Minor as starter or reliever

While much of the rumor mill regarding Royals free agents has focused on Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain, there's another name the Royals have expressed interest in signing back: left-hander Mike Minor.

Minor excelled in the closer's role after Kelvin Herrera lost that job late in the season. Minor went 6-for-6 in save opportunities in September, displaying a 95-97 mph fastball and a devastating cutter. He finished the season with a 2.55 ERA.

Minor, 29, certainly will draw interest this winter as either a starter or a reliever.

And even though Minor could potentially be a dominant closer for the Royals, general manager Dayton Moore told reporters at the General Managers Meetings in Orlando, Fla., that they would be interested in Minor out of the bullpen or as a starter.

"We would," Moore said. "He's at a stage in his career where he knows his body. He knows what he needs to do. We went down this trail with Zack Greinke, Wade Davis. You know they have a dominant role on the pitching staff as a reliever. We saw that in Wade before we traded for him. We started him out as a starter but we always knew we could revert back to him being a reliever.

"Zack Greinke was dominant in the bullpen and it worked in reverse for him. Even if Mike isn't as dominant as a starter, and he could be dominant, he certainly can, you know you'll get dominance from him in the bullpen as a one-inning guy or two-inning guy. He's proved it.

"But I wouldn't walk away from him if he wanted to start."

Near season's end, Minor talked of being genuinely excited about following in Davis' career path toward being a dominant closer.

"I don't mind it," Minor said. "It's an adrenaline rush. I think anybody would want that role."

Moore certainly was impressed with Minor's work as a closer.

"He quickly adjusted," Moore said. "Arguably, he might have been our best reliever down the stretch."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.