Free agent: 2019
The value: This is where the rankings start to require some disclaimers and caveats. Herrera is in his final season of arbitration after posting a 4.25 ERA and allowing 1.4 homers per nine innings, his highest rate since 2013. By the end of the season, his confidence had eroded and he was moved from the closer's role. After logging a 1.41 ERA in 2014 and earning All-Star appearances in 2015 and 2016, Herrera's value is likely lower it than it has been in years. Yet if the Royals are confident in a rebound performance, they could seek to open the season with him in the bullpen and look to move him before the trade deadline. He will be a free agent at the end of the season. But the relief market often heats up once teams sort themselves into buyers and sellers.
-- 6. Ian Kennedy
Contract: Three years, $49 million Free agent: 2021
The value: Kennedy declined an opt-out in his five-year, $70 million contract and technically opted in to the final three years and $49 million on the deal. His value would be limited by the dollars remaining on the contract and his 5.38 ERA during an injury-plagued 2017. But if Kennedy bounces back toward his 2016 form -- 3.68 ERA in 1952/3 innings -- the Royals could monitor his value before the trade deadline. They would likely need to eat some money in a trade to maximize the return, but in the most generous reading, the club could dangle 21/2 seasons of a No. 3 or No. 4 starter. That could net an intriguing piece or two.
-- 7. Ryan Buchter
Contract status: Arbitration eligible in 2019 Free agent: 2022
Buchter, 30, did not become a full-time major league reliever until 2016. In 1291/3 innings, he's posted a 2.85 ERA and 144 strikeouts. He also offers four years of club control. He could be attractive this offseason or next summer.
-- 8. Jason Hammel
Contract status: One year, $9 million ($2 million buyout in 2019)