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Royals sign Wily Peralta to 1-year deal

The Royals are taking another chance on a veteran starter who could have some untapped potential in the bullpen.

Milwaukee Brewers v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The Royals have signed right-handed pitcher Wily Peralta to a one-year contract with a club option for a second year, per a team announcement on Tuesday afternoon. Peralta will receive $1.525 million guaranteed—a $1.5 million salary for 2018, with a $3 million club option for 2019, or a $25,000 buyout if the option isn’t exercised, as Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reported Tuesday.

Peralta, 28, has made 120 of his 132 major-league appearances—all of which have been for the Brewers—as a starter. But much like many of the other veteran starters that the Royals have signed in recent years—including Joe Blanton, Dillon Gee, Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, Travis Wood, and Chris Young (not to mention their most famous convert, trade acquisition Wade Davis)—the Royals will consider the possibility of using Peralta out of the bullpen, as Flanagan relayed Tuesday.

Peralta averaged 95.9 MPH on both his four-seam fastball and sinker last season, and there’s plenty of reason to believe that he could see an uptick in velocity working out of the bullpen full-time. Peralta undoubtedly has some work to do; he posted a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 1.83 WHIP over 57.1 innings in 2017, and he has largely struggled over the past three seasons.

The Brewers used Peralta as a reliever from mid-May until he was designated for assignment on July 29, and he struggled significantly in that role, posting an 11.94 ERA while allowing opponents to hit for a .368/.467/.592 slash line. But with an offseason to tweak his mechanics and get healthy (he missed more than a month with a right calf strain in 2017), perhaps Peralta will be able to discover a new level of performance that he’s previously been unable to achieve. While the Royals changed pitching coaches this offseason, moving from the experienced Dave Eiland to first-time pitching coach Cal Eldred, the Royals’ rich recent history with converting guys like Davis and Minor into superstar relievers provides reason for optimism that Peralta might be able to succeed out of the bullpen.

While the Royals already have a fair amount of rotation depth with Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, Jason Hammel, Jakob Junis, Sam Gaviglio, Nate Karns, and Eric Skoglund returning from last season, Peralta could also perhaps provide extra starting depth if Kansas City struggles to get innings out of its rotation like it did in 2017.