Aaron Gleeman

Joe Blanton

Joe Blanton is making a comeback with the Royals

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Joe Blanton, who went into semi-retirement in the middle of last season after being released by the Angels and the A’s, is now making a comeback and has signed a minor-league deal with the Royals.

Blanton held an open workout for interested teams earlier this month and must have looked reasonably decent to snag a deal, although obviously there’s zero risk involved for the Royals.

Blanton is 34 years old and has a combined 5.09 ERA in 541 innings dating back to 2010, but the bar for “decent fifth starter” is pretty low and teams can never have enough pitching depth.

Royals, Greg Holland avoid arbitration for $8.25 million

Greg Holland
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Stud closer Greg Holland and the Royals have avoided arbitration with a one-year, $8.25 million deal.

Holland requested $9 million and the Royals countered at $6.65 million, which means the two sides settled $425,000 above the midpoint.

Holland has posted incredible numbers for the past four seasons, including a 1.44 ERA with 46 saves and a 90/20 K/BB ratio in 62 innings last year. He has one more season of arbitration eligibility in 2016 before being able to hit the open market as a 30-year-old free agent.

Royals sign Alex Gordon’s brother from independent league

big brother little brother
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Alex Gordon’s younger brother, Derek Gordon, is a 6-foot-8 right-hander who played last season for the independent league Kansas City T-Bones.

And now he’s signed a minor-league contract with the Royals.

Here’s the part that’s sure to raise eyebrows: Last season Derek Gordon appeared in 14 games for the T-Bones and had a 6.49 ERA with 23 walks and 12 strikeouts in 26 innings.

That’s the type of performance that gets you cut from an independent league team, not signed by an MLB team. But hey, congrats to the Gordon family.

Kelvin Herrera signs two-year deal with Royals to avoid arbitration

Kelvin Herrera Getty
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Right-hander Kelvin Herrera has agreed to a two-year, $4.15 million contract with the Royals, avoiding arbitration for this season and next season.

As a “Super Two” qualifier Herrera has four total seasons of arbitration eligibility, so he’ll still be under team control for 2017 and 2018 once the two-year deal is over.

Herrera has emerged as one of the elite relievers in baseball since 2012, throwing 213 innings with a 2.45 ERA while ranking among MLB’s hardest-throwers. Last season he had a 1.41 ERA and 59/26 K/BB ratio in 70 innings while allowing zero home runs in 285 plate appearances.

Astros add rotation depth by signing Roberto Hernandez

Roberto Hernandez
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The pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona, veteran right-hander Roberto Hernandez, has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Astros that includes an invitation to spring training.

Last offseason, coming off a year in which he threw 151 innings with a 4.89 ERA, he signed a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Phillies.

Hernandez threw 165 innings with a 4.10 ERA for the Phillies and (after being traded) the Dodgers, yet has to settle for a minor-league contract this time around.

He’s never again lived up to the promise he showed for the Indians in 2007, but Hernandez has generally been a solid fourth or fifth starter.