BOSTON — The improved performance by the Royals rotation over the 25 games prior to Saturday night is much-welcomed development a 3.66 ERA and 19 quality starts but club officials remain committed to an offseason upgrade.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Its like a broken record, general manager Dayton Moore said, but its the truth. Were going to expect and work to put together a rotation that is going give us 1,000 innings. Thats what we want to be able to accomplish.
Our pitching staff has (recently) performed very well, but were going to keep searching and keep looking and see how it unfolds.
Moore said that search will start internally and include an effort to retain veteran right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, who is a pending free agent.
Were still learning about him, Moore said. His stuff hasnt declined at all based on our reports our statistical data and our scouting. For whatever reason, he wasnt having the success earlier this year that he was having in Baltimore.
But hes a very similar pitcher to what he was the last couple of years in Baltimore. Hes definitely a guy were going to have interest in. For sure.
Moore said the search to build an improved rotation will sift through the clubs other current starters, some members of the bullpen and possibilities from the minor-league system.
But he also embraces a willingness to acquire arms through trades and free agency. While the goal is to find an impact, top-of-the-rotation starter and thats what Moore wants, of course he also takes a more realistic view.
I keep hearing weve got to get a one or a two, he said. Well, thats great, but there arent many out there. I want pitchers who are going to give us innings and have the mind-set of a No. 1.
That means theyre going to compete, theyre going to prepare. It means theyre going to be creative and intellectual in ways to get hitters out. We have some guys who have that mind-set. Weve got to get in a position where they give us some more innings.
Hopefully, they can.
Trading for a reliable starter, the Royals realize, will likely come at a high cost.
Were going to have to trade guys to teams that are willing to give up pitching, Moore said. Do we give up substantial pieces off our major-league club and in our farm system for guys we might only have for a year or two?
It depends on the alternatives.
Abreu steps in
Utility infielder Tony Abreu started for the first time in eight days and just the second time since Aug. 8 when he replaced Johnny Giavotella at second base. Abreu could draw another start today at third base in place of Mike Moustakas.
Im still looking at that, manager Ned Yost said. Hes a utility player. He plays them all pretty much the same. I think his natural position is shortstop, but he plays third fine and hes OK at second.
The Royals want to determine whether Abreu, 27, can be a good fit going forward as the clubs utility player. He was batting .322 in 103 games at Class AAA Omaha when the Royals selected his contract on Aug. 6.
Hes a switch-hitter who can swing the bat a little bit, Yost said. Hes a good little player. I like him. Weve got two really good options with him and (Irving) Falu for utility guys. You dont feel like youre missing out when you put them in the game.
Falu batted .321 earlier this season in 15 big-league games. He is currently batting .317 in 79 games at Omaha
Wild day for Boston
The Red Sox officially completed their nine-player deal with the Dodgers prior to the game. The news leaked prior to Fridays series opener when both teams pulled players from their lineups.
Boston unloaded roughly $260 million in future salary by sending pitcher Josh Beckett, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, outfielder Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to Los Angeles.
The Red Sox received first baseman James Loney, two minor-league players (infielder Ivan De Jesus and pitcher Allen Webster) and two players to be named later. Those two players are believed to be pitcher Rubby De La Rosa and infielder Jerry Sands.
Boston designated hitter David Ortiz could be headed back to the disabled list despite going two for four on Friday in his first game action since July 16. He has been battling a strained right Achilles tendon.
Collins K count
Lefty reliever Tim Collins entered Saturday with 83 strikeouts 14 more than any other American League reliever. Seattles Tom Wilhelmsen had 69.
Collins recorded two strikeouts in two-thirds of an inning in Fridays 4-3 loss to Boston after replacing Kelvin Herrera with one out in the seventh inning. The club record for strikeouts by a reliever is 103 by Jim York in 1971.
Class AAA Omaha right-hander Jake Odorizzi, perhaps the organizations top pitching prospect, had his worst performance in weeks Friday night in a 6-0 loss to New Orleans.
Odorizzi, 22, gave up five runs and seven hits in six innings. He also surrendered two homers. On the plus side, he was efficient just 74 pitches in six innings and struck out five while walking none.
The loss dropped Odorizzi to 10-3 with a 3.03 ERA in 18 games at Omaha since his promotion from Class AA Northwest Arkansas. Overall, he is 14-5 and 3.14 in 28 games.
It was 21 years ago Sunday Aug. 26, 1991 that Bret Saberhagen pitched the last no-hitter in Royals history. He walked two and struck out five in a 7-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox at then-Royals Stadium.
Saberhagens gem was the fourth in club history. Steve Busby threw no-hitters in 1973 at Detroit and in 1974 at Milwaukee. Jim Colborn pitched a no-hitter in 1977 against Texas at Royals Stadium.