Report: Royals looking to trade for closer
The Kansas City Royals have been one of baseball's busiest teams this offseason with the signings of pitchers Michael Wacha, Will Smith, Seth Lugo and Chris Stratton, infielder Garrett Hampson and outfielder Hunter Renfroe, but The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Levi Weaver report the team isn't done.
The Royals are now looking to trade for a closer. The team's 28 saves were the second-lowest in the American League in 2023 with Aroldis Chapman (two) traded at the deadline to the Texas Rangers and last season's leader, Scott Barlow (13), sent to the Cleveland Guardians in November.
Rosenthal and Weaver note that the Royals would prefer a trade because the free-agent ranks are thin, but the trade market does not appear promising with the Milwaukee Brewers unlikely to move Devin Williams and the Guardians unwilling to deal Emmanuel Clase. Boston Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen is believed to carry too hefty a price tag at $16 million.
Should the Royals fail to make an addition, Smith will likely be the internal option to at least start the season at closer.
A three-time World Series winner, Smith had 22 saves for the world champion Rangers last season. Heading into his 12th season and second stint in Kansas City, Smith has also spent time with the Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants and Brewers.
The 34-year-old native of Newnan, GA has 113 career saves.