Mike Minor signs with the Royals
It was, for the most part, a quiet weekend around baseball. It’s been a quiet offseason in general, of course, but it was even more quiet than usual due to the Thanksgiving holiday. We did get a bit of news late Sunday night, though, with another starting pitcher coming off the board. This time it was lefty Mike Minor, who reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with the Royals. The exact terms of the contract are not yet known. For what it’s worth, MLB Trade Rumors pegged Minor for a one-year deal worth $6 million and FanGraphs readers predicted a two-year deal worth $20 million. That was a big split, and FanGraphs readers would appear to be closer to right based on the years.
As for Minor himself, the veteran is a somewhat rare free agent signing for a Royals team that is in the middle of a long rebuild. They’re certainly trending in the right direction, but contention is not expected in 2021. That said, they obviously still need innings and Minor should fit well there. Performance-wise, though, there are questions. Minor burst back on the scene in Kansas City a few years ago as a reliever before going to Texas to start again.
In 2019, he had the best season of his career, but followed that up with a very rough 2020 that saw him traded to Oakland midway through. Minor finished the season with a 5.56 ERA, though his 4.64 FIP does paint a slightly better picture. Either way, it’s not a great performance, particularly when you combine the numbers with a two mph drop down to just 90 mph last year.
The Royals are hoping that was just some 2020 weirdness and Minor can bounce back. Despite their likelihood (or lack thereof) of competing, Minor could be a nice buy-low to flip either at the trade deadline or next winter. Or, they could keep the veteran to serve in a mentorship role, as the Royals have a ton of prospect depth on the pitching side of things coming up over the next couple of years. Having a veteran like Minor is always good in those situations.
As for the Red Sox in all of this, we continue to see the slow-moving free agent market only have starting pitchers come off the board. Minor specifically isn’t a major loss, particularly on a two-year deal. But it’s worth mentioning that only starting pitchers have signed thus far, and that is obviously Boston’s biggest need. There are plenty of other options remaining, of course, but based on the way the winds are blowing I’d expect Boston’s first free agent pick up to be a starter.