When I first heard news that the Royals had claimed Chris Volstad off waivers from the Cubs I didn’t love the move, but I liked the idea of going to get a guy who could provide some minor league depth. He’s a little more expensive than I was talking about a few weeks back when I mentioned the Royals needed to go after reclamation projects, but put aside the money and Volstad fits that mold pretty well. He was a top 100 prospect three years in a row from 2006-2008 and when he got to the big leagues as a 21 year-old with the Marlins in 2008, he put up solid numbers. The big issue is that the peripherals have never been there for him as he doesn’t strike out enough batters and he walks too many considering how few batters he strikes out. He’s also become extremely hittable as his career has progressed. But still, Dave Eiland saw something in Jeremy Guthrie, maybe he sees something here. It’s worth the risk.
And then the signing got even better when a lot of people started thinking about what Volstad could mean for the future of Luke Hochevar. See, by claiming Volstad off waivers, the Royals are responsible for his arbitration case which means he’ll likely cost around $3 million. That’s why I think they paid too much for a guy who almost assuredly would have been non-tendered in a few weeks. The only reason I can think for claiming him is that they see something in him and wanted to be able to have control of him rather than have to bid against other teams for his services. The idea that this current organization can evaluate pitching well enough to be able to fix a pitcher is something that I will leave without comment for now. Anyway, the point here is that a team on a budget like the Royals probably can’t afford to pay two guys like Volstad and Hochevar and Volstad is the less expensive option, so my thought (and many others) was that this might spell the end of the Luke Hochevar era.
Of course it wasn’t long until the thought of a Hochevar-less future was washed away with comments by Dayton Moore in a story about the move and what it signals for the rest of the winter. The first bombshell in the Bob Dutton article came early.
We know who we are and how we have to build this team,â€ general manager Dayton Moore said, â€œand how we have to build our rotation. Weâ€™re going to be as aggressive as we can, but we know who we are and how we need to do it.
This sounds an awful lot like the song and dance we’ve heard in previous offseasons about the Royals lacking the funds to be able to compete with the big boys and all that mumbo jumbo. I’d almost look at that and just shake my head with a smile if there hadn’t been plenty of obvious plants in the media about the Royals intentions to make some sort of splash in free agency. Of course, David Glass has publicly stated the Royals would spend, Dayton Moore has confirmed it and now we get this nugget. The second bombshell is probably what I’m most annoyed with and that’s when Dayton Moore mentioned what type of starter the Royals might look at in free agency.
While Moore didnâ€™t rule out an offseason push to sign an impact free-agent pitcher, he said it â€œwonâ€™t be a long-term answer for usâ€ in part because the club anticipates plentiful in-house options by the start of the 2014 season.