The Kansas City Royals have entertained the idea of trading fireballing relievers Tim Collins and Aaron Crow, according to Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star. Sources tell Dutton that the Royals have made the two "very available".
"Those are the guys they’d like to trade," one rival club official said, "because they’re going to start to make a little bit of money. But the key thing for them is they have a lot of other guys ready to step in…guys who might be even better."
Both Collins and Crow are entering their first year of arbitration-eligibility and each figures to earn no more than $2 million, which is quite a bargain when compared to bloated free agent contract relievers are receiving, such as the three years and $15 million the Angels gave to Joe Smith over the weekend.
Collins, who was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays as an amateur free agent in 2007, has pitched at least 50 innings for the Royals in each of the last three seasons. For his career, Collins has struck out 205 batters in 190 innings, posting a 3.51 ERA and 118 ERA+.
Three years older than Collins (27 to 24), Crow, a former two-time first round pick and All-Star in 2011, has been the better pitcher over the course of his three year career. In 174 innings, Crow has a 3.19 ERA, 130 ERA+, 2.8 WAR, and a SO/9 of 9.0.
Executives also tell Dutton that the team could be open to dealing All-Star closer Greg Holland, as well, though it is less likely considering the club will be seeking a large return for the two-time Bruce Rice Royals Pitcher of the Year award winner who has a magnificent 7.3 WAR since 2011. 2013 was a career year for Holland, as he set a Royals team record with 47 saves, to go along with a 1.21 ERA, 342 ERA+, and 103 strikeouts in 67 innings.
The Royals, who were second only to the Atlanta Braves in bullpen ERA last year, have an abundance of solid bullpen arms, and would do well to use some of that surplus to acquire an every-day second baseman or upgrade their rotation.
Though he will likely get a shot to stick in the rotation, 28-year-old right-hander Wade Davis could very well end up back in the bullpen, where he had a 2.43 ERA in 70.1 innings for the Rays in 2012. Considering the Royals just signed free agent starter Jason Vargas, the team may be best off trading away one of Collins or Crow, replacing him with Davis, and then acquiring another pitcher with top-of-the-rotation ability to complement James Shields.