The Kansas City Royals have had a relatively quiet period of time since the Major League Baseball lockout ended, but that's beginning to change. Per the team, Kansas City is trading left-handed starting pitcher Mike Minor to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for lefty reliever Amir Garrett and cash considerations.
Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Royals were able to free $8.5 million in available funds as a result of the trade. Minor was owed a hefty $10M for 2022, and Garrett's number is just $2M. Minor also had a $1M buyout on his contract for the 2023 campaign, which is slated to be an option year. Overall, the move gives the Royals a significant amount of flexibility that they may need in the near future. Rosenthal also reported that Kansas City is attempting to acquire Oakland Athletics starter, RHP Frankie Montas.
Minor, who is 34 years old, posted an 8-12 record last season in 28 starts. His 5.50 ERA and 89 earned runs surrendered were less than ideal, as he simply didn't string together many quality starts as a member of the team. On the other hand, Minor did eat up innings and serve as a bridge for the Royals' young arms that are expected to perform in a major way this season. Minor's last above-average season came in 2019, when he made his lone All-Star team and posted a tidy 3.59 ERA in 32 starts on the year.
In 2021, Garrett went 0-4 and posted a 6.04 ERA in 47.2 innings pitched. Between 2019 and 2020, though, he was 6-3 with a 3.03 ERA while striking out 104 hitters in just over 74 innings of ball. At 29 years old, the Reds were the only team Garrett had known at the major league level until Wednesday. He boasts a mid-90s fastball and a plus slider that should make him a valued member of the back end of the Royals' bullpen.
At its core, this move makes a ton of sense for Kansas City. Garrett isn't projected to hit the free agent market until after next season and — if he bounces back from a lackluster 2021 — he could add plenty of value to a group that is already on the upswing. Add in the fact that the transaction gives the Royals more money to work with, and then the picture gets even clearer. Regardless of whether a Montas trade manifests itself or not, this swap gives the Royals a fresh face and the ability to possibly accommodate a bigger contract moving forward. That should be worth it, even if Garrett doesn't return all the way to his previous form.