MLB News and Rumors

3 Players That Won't Be Returning to the Royals Next Season

Larry Rupp
Three players that won't be returning to the Kansas City Royals next season.
Three players that won't be returning to the Kansas City Royals next season. / AP Photos/Charlie Riedel

Since winning the World Series in 2015, the Kansas City Royals have finished with a losing record seven times and have yet to make it back to the postseason. With manager Mike Matheny being fired, all eyes now turn toward Kansas City's front office and what it is going to do during the offseason.

Decisions will need to be made as to who deserves a roster spot in 2023 and who is better off playing somewhere else. Finding a balance of youth and experience would help the Royals compete in a crowded AL Central. Let's take a look at three Kansas City players that will not return to the team.

Kansas City Royals 2023 Roster

1. Zack Greinke, SP

There was a lot of talk during the season about whether or not veteran pitcher Zack Greinke would be on Kansas City when the trade deadline passed. Now that talk has turned into a debate on whether or not the Royals will re-sign him to a short-term deal in free agency. Greinke has not been shy about expressing how much he loves playing for this team, but it's important to point out that he enters next year at 39 years of age and posted a mediocre 1.34 WHIP in 2022. It wasn't taking long for opposing batters to figure him out. The Royals' farm system is chock full of talented pitching prospects, which leaves little room for Greinke to make an impact.

2. Ryan O'Hearn, 1B

The Royals have the chance to non-tender a few players in the offseason, which means they can choose not to negotiate new deals with them. It would then force that player to then enter free agency. First baseman Ryan O'Hearn is a likely candidate to be non-tendered for a few reasons. The 29-year-old slashed a disappointing .239/.290/.321 this past summer and smacked only 1 home run across 145 plate appearances. He spent most of the season being used as a pinch-hitter, which should make his expected 2023 salary of $1.5 million much less appealing to the Royals. Hunter Dozier and Vinnie Pasquantino have proven capable of playing 1B, anyways.

3. Brad Keller, SP

Much like O'Hearn, pitcher Brad Keller comes with an expected 2023 salary ($7 million) that does not line up with the work he put in during the 2022 season. The fifth-year pro finished with an ERA north of 5.00 and a WHIP north of 1.50 for the second year in a row. Keller was even demoted from starter to reliever midway through the campaign. That didn't help as he posted a 6.23 ERA across 13 appearances out of the bullpen. This is a player that will provide league-average production on the mound next year, but his ceiling is capped at that level. A lack of upside means the Royals will likely cut their losses and let him enter free agency.

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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.