Grading AL Central front offices at midpoint of the 2024 MLB season

Chicago White Sox v Arizona Diamondbacks
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Kansas City Royals: J. J. Picollo, general manager. Grade: C

The Royals have been one of MLB’s surprises over the first half of the season, clinging to a playoff position just one season after topping 100 losses. Yet, as unlikely as it seems, the Royals front office hasn’t done a great deal to improve the team this winter. 

Instead, most of the improvement flows from the natural growth of players already on hand, such as Bobby Witt Jr., Brady Singer, and Sal Perez.

Picollo made one move that has paid huge dividends, signing free agent pitcher Seth Lugo off the discard pile. Lugo has become the staff ace, with a 10-2 record and 2.29 ERA in 17 starts. That’s good for a +3.0 WAA.

But that’s about it for Picollo’s front office. Of 22 personnel moves impacting the free agent roster, 15 to date are working out negatively, against just five positive impacts. Rookie pitcher Angel Zerpa is No. 2 on the value list of those additions, and he’s valued at just +0.2.

Cole Ragans (+1.8) has been a reliable No. 2 to Lugo in the rotation. But Ragans was a trade deadline pickup from Texas last season, so his growth doesn’t count toward Picollo’s 2024 rating.

Score: -0.7. Grade: C.