1. Scott Barlow
Here’s an intriguing option. The Royals are bad and have plenty of assets to sell … but is righty reliever Scott Barlow one of them? He’s been dominant this year after a breakout 2021, which will no longer make him a cost-effective option for a small market like Kansas City.
Barlow is making $2.4 million in his first year of arbitration eligibility, a number that will continue to increase beyond the Royals’ comfort level if he continues to pitch well (he’s already going to make considerably more than that in 2023).
Enter the Dodgers, who can absorb the cost, which might not make Barlow as expensive as he should be. The slider-heavy 29-year-old owns a 1.93 ERA, 3.55 FIP and 0.93 WHIP with 45 strikeouts in 46.2 innings of work this year. He’s limiting hard contact and gets a ton of outs via the ground ball (in fact, a career high at 46.3% for inducing grounders).
Depending on the Royals’ asking price, this could be a prudent investment for LA, giving them a potential elite bullpen arm for 2.5 years. Throw in Barlow’s 16 saves, and hell, he could replace Kimbrel here and there! With a surplus of a lot of things in the farm system, the Dodgers could afford to part with some promising talent to fortify the bullpen for multiple seasons, since the front office will also have a lot of work to do for 2023 and 2024 in this department.