The Giants are reportedly monitoring the Royals for potential rental options for a postseason push according to a report from Jerry Crasnick. Among the names mentioned is Royals’ starting pitcher Edinson Volquez.
Volquez has been the best and most reliable starter on the Royals roster this season despite having some bad starts earlier in the year. In 124.1 innings, the 33-year old right-hander has allowed 63 earned runs on 126 hits and 47 walks. Volquez has strung together some impressive starts over his past five games. Against the difficult opponents of the Cardinals, Blue Jays, Mariners, Indians, and Rangers, Volquez allowed just 10 earned runs and only two homers while working at least six innings in each contest.
Despite investing a substantial amount in there this past offseason, the Giants’ starting rotation ranks just sixth in the National League by FIP. While Johnny Cueto and Madison Bumgarner have been excellent—posting a 2.79 and 3.00 FIP respectively thus far—the rest of the rotation has struggled a bit. Jeff Samardzija has had some good starts, though has shown a propensity to give up the long ball. The 35-year old Jake Peavy has continued a slight decline, but some of that could be attributable to his anomalous strand rate. Meanwhile, Matt Cain has been downright pedestrian and Albert Suarez hasn’t been much better when filling in.
The Giants could certainly use some rotation help then, but in the event that Volquez does become available, a long line of suitors could present themselves to the Royals. Volquez has a mutual option for the 2017 season that is worth $10 million. With the impending free agent market being weak at starting pitching, Volquez likely isn’t expected to pick that option up.
Perhaps a rental option seems like a good low-cost addition for the Giants then. However, the Royals incentive to deal Volquez is somewhat suppressed by the option to offer him a qualifying offer and collect a draft pick as compensation if he signs elsewhere this offseason. Therefore, the Giants would have to make their offer better than the potential return of a top-30 draft pick.
With the Royals three games under .500 and currently sitting fourth in the AL Central, the team seems willing to sell of assets. That being said, a report came out earlier that suggested, to acquire Wade Davis, the Royals would want more than what the Yankees got for Aroldis Chapman. With the second-worst bullpen in the National League by FanGraphs’ WAR, the Giants may be looking to put together a package to do just that however.