Royals continue to upgrade pitching staff, embrace buyer role with Red Sox trade

The Royals continue to improve their major league roster while the Red Sox load up on prospects.

New Kansas City Royals reliever John Schreiber. Schreiber was acquired on Saturday from the Boston Red Sox for pitching prospect David Sandlin.
New Kansas City Royals reliever John Schreiber. Schreiber was acquired on Saturday from the Boston Red Sox for pitching prospect David Sandlin. / Brian Fluharty/GettyImages

Watch out for the Kansas City Royals. They are wheeling and dealing and looking to make a serious move out of the cellar in the American League Central.

The Royals continue to improve their pitching staff, as they added former Boston Red Sox reliever John Schreiber on Saturday. This is another piece of the puzzle that the Royals are adding to turn around the club that lost 106 games last season.

The Royals are pushing all the right buttons to show that they want to win now and not later, and that is why they are trading top-five prospect David Sandlin (per ESPN's Kiley McDaniel) to acquire Schreiber. The Royals have spent over $100 million this offseason to continue to tinker with the roster through free agency and have locked up Bobby Witt Jr. to a long-term contract.

Royals trade prospect David Sandlin for John Schreiber

The Royals added Michael Wacha and Seth Lugo to the rotation, while they have added Will Smith, Chris Stratton and Nick Anderson to the bullpen. The bullpen was in shambles, and General Manager J.J. Picollo completely reworked his pitching staff and put the Royals in a position to compete for a playoff spot in 2024.

To make room for Schreiber on the 40-man roster, the Royals moved starter Kyle Wright to the 60-day injured list, as he is recovering from a shoulder injury that should sideline him for the entire 2024 season.

"“We’ve been trying to continue to address the bullpen, and we wanted somebody that’s been in some leverage situations before. Schreiber has done that in Boston,” Royals general manager J.J. Picollo said. “We’re still real happy with the reports, real happy with the data we have on him.”"

Royals GM J.J. Picollo, Kansas City Star

The Royals surrendered minor-leaguer Sandlin to make the trade, who has been ranked as high as the fifth-best prospect in the Kansas City organization, but ranked 20th per Baseball America. For the 2024 campaign, though, this is clearly a trade that the Royals won, as Schreiber is a more than capable reliever who can come in to set up the closer in the seventh inning or go the rest of the way and earn a save.

If Schreiber can return to the form that he displayed in 2022 when he pitched in 64 games and had a very nice 2.22 ERA, he'll continue to aid the Royals' playoff push. Schreiber was dealing with injuries in 2023 and only made 46 appearances, but still had an ERA under four.

Schreiber is a high-leverage player who is under contract through the 2026 season. Hopefully, for KC, he sticks around through the second half and isn't dealt at the deadline to the eventual World Champions, a la Aroldis Chapman. This is supposed to be KC's year.