While not everyone was thrilled about the Royals’ trade with the Rays, nearly every fan is happy about a revamped rotation that features four starters who weren’t with the team at last year’s All-Star break.
But what about the players who made up last season’s rotation? By most accounts Bruce Chen, Luke Hochevar, Luis Mendoza and Will Smith will have to battle for the final spot in the rotation.
Chen, who has won 35 games over the last three seasons, says he’d like to remain a starter, but he’s taking nothing for granted.
“I’m going to do everything I can to help the team win, and I want to do it in the starting rotation, but you never know what’s going to happen,” Chen said. “I’m going to go over there and give everything I can so I can help this team win, because we have a very special team right now.”
The additions of Ervin Santana, James Shields and Wade Davis could make a lesser man jealous, but Chen is simply thrilled by the moves. Chen, who was 11-14 with a 5.07 ERA last season, said the bottom line is he wants to win a championship.
“It’s a challenge,” Chen said. “I want to be a part of a winning team, I want to part of something special. If this is what it means, that I have to compete and do something that I wasn’t doing last year, then by all means.
“But I want to be able to win. For us to be a part of something special, we have to get better. We had to get other people who were going to help us, and I think the guys that we got are great guys who are going to automatically make a huge impact on our starting rotation and our team.
“I’m very happy and I’m very excited about the opportunity of being a part of something special. I’m going to work very hard, so I can instead of being a burden to the team, I want to be someone that the team is very proud and very excited to have as a part of the team.”