Aaron Crow and Tim Collins “very available” via trade

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The Royals don’t have much wiggle room with their payroll after signing left-hander Jason Vargas to a four-year, $32 million contract last week, so they are willing to deal some of their bullpen surplus in order to address other areas of need.

Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star was told by rival club officials that Aaron Crow and Tim Collins are “very available” in possible trades. Both pitchers will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, so they’ll only get more expensive over time. The Royals would consider offers for any of their relievers, but they are naturally more reluctant to move All-Star closer Greg Holland than Crow or Collins.

Crow, who turned 27 earlier this month, owns a 3.19 ERA over 187 relief appearances in the majors while averaging 9.0 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9. Collins, a 24-year-old left-hander, has compiled a 3.51 ERA and 205 strikeouts over his first 190 innings in the majors.

Dutton currently projects the Royals to have a franchise-record payroll of $87 million in 2014.