From water coolers to major newspapers, all the Royals chatter in the earliest part of the young club's offseason focuses on the need to acquire a front-line starting pitcher. Indeed, the Royals gave a combined 27 starts to Kyle Davies, Sean O'Sullivan, and Vin Mazzaro, which is approximately 27 starts too many.
Though the trio's Fangraphs wins above replacement figure includes a handful of (also terrible) relief outings, it's worth noting that Davies, O'Sullivan, and Mazzaro combined to record a 0.0 WAR on the year.
It's not a stretch to say that the Royals do, in fact, need to upgrade that radioactive spot in the rotation. Speculation has centered on, among others, the Rays' James Shields, the Cubs' Matt Garza, and the Giants' Matt Cain. Each would represent an improvement, and each would come at varying costs in terms of dollars and prospects.
And the Royals should pursue none of them.
There are two angles to the analysis here. The first i...