The Rangers, looking for a bullpen boost like every other team in baseball, are in heavy pursuit of Royals closer Kelvin Herrera, Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports.
The Royals had been fielding interest in the right-handed fireballer at the Winter Meetings. The Royals are likely heading into a rebuild with the core of their 2015 championship team testing free agency, and Herrera himself is set to become a free agent after this season.
As the closer in 2017, Herrera recorded 26 saves but posted a 4.30 ERA, a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star season in 2016, when he finished with a 2.47 ERA and struck out 86 batters in 72 innings. The hard-throwing reliever still averaged 98 mph on his fastball, right in line with his career average.
Herrera will turn 28 at the end of the year, and has experience in numerous bullpen roles. He was in a seventh-inning role as a part of the prolific bullpen group of himself, Greg Holland and Wade Davis during the Royals’ 2014-15 run. Herrera moved up to the eighth inning when Holland went down with an injury in 2015, and eventually became the closer after Davis went to the Cubs.