The Chicago White Sox continue to be obsessed with signing former Kansas City Royals

We might as well call this team Royals North

Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago White Sox are bringing in another starting pitcher to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. Once again, it is another former Kansas City Royals player.

The Sox announced they signed former Royals pitcher Brad Keller to a minor-league deal with an invite to the major-league camp.

That pushes the number to eight players at Sox' Spring Training who has been with the Royals. It makes sense given that general manager Chris Getz and manager Pedro Grifol came from the Kansas City Royals organization.

The problem is the Royals are not the organization you want to replicate.

The Royals are indeed the most recent small market franchise to win a World Series. That came in 2015 and the organization has never come close to even winning the AL Central since then. 2015 was the only time the Royals won the division during this century. The Royals have spent more time racing to the bottom of the division since Y2K.

Although to be fair, they have been to the World Series more times in the past 24 years than the Sox (The Royals lost the 2014 World Series to the San Francisco Giants).

Still, this is not the franchise you want to replicate as they have never found a model of sustained success like other small-market clubs such as the Tampa Bay Rays or the Milwaukee Brewers. That happens when your prospect pool is usually not very good. The Royals currently have one of the worst farm systems in baseball.

Most of these former players are well past their primes or are just not any good.

Mike Moustakas is 35 and last posted a decent fWAR or a wRC+ over 100 in a full season in 2019. Brett Phillips is all glove and no bat. Martin Maldonado's calling card has been throwing out would-be base stealers but that skill is on the decline. Nicky Lopez is going to be the starting second baseman, but he has no pop in his bat.

Relief pitcher Jesse Chavez has already announced this will be his final year in the majors. The other pitcher the Sox brought in with ties to the Royals, Joe Barlow, has spent more time pitching in the minors than he has in the big leagues (he has spent most of his career in the Texas Rangers system before a brief stint last year with the Royals organization).

Barlow did spend some time as the Rangers' closer for a couple of seasons, but he kept losing the job and eventually was designated for assignment.

Andrew Benintendi continues to be the only former Royal who can help this team win 61 games. That is what he did last year with an injured wrist that took him down from being at least a .300 hitter with no power.

Now enter Keller as the next former Royals who comes to camp.

He has only one year out of his six seasons where he started more than 25 games. His ERA has never been below 4.00 as a full-time starter outside of the abbreviated 2020 season. 2022 was the only season where he had some bad luck when his ERA was 5.39 but his FIP was 4.72.

Last year he only pitched in 45-and-a-third innings after a shoulder injury ended his season. It was a thoracic outlet syndrome injury that not too many pitchers come back from. The good news is it looks like he did not need to have surgery to fix the problem since he got a non-roster invite. The bad news is this could flare up again.

The only good portion of the risk in signing Keller is he is still 28 and there is no such thing as a bad one-year, minor-league contract.

This does represent Grifol's foolhardy plan to fix last year's toxic clubhouse by bringing in players from the Royals. The Sox have been a mess the past couple of seasons and last year they were dysfunctional beyond belief. The Royals still lost more games than the Sox in 2023. Think about it, the Royals had a managing opening last year and passed on promoting Grifol.

Maybe they just do not want to play F.A.S.T and do not like acronyms.

More former Royals players are not going to fix the White Sox. Getting better players will and right now, they are typically not coming from Kansas City.

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