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Inbox: Do Royals have pitching to contend?

Beat reporter Jeffrey Flanagan answers questions from fans
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

The Royals finished a 4-4 road trip by winning four of their past five. Perhaps that builds some momentum for a crucial three-game set with the Indians at Kauffman Stadium starting Friday.

With that in mind, let's get to your questions for the latest installment of the Edward Jones Royals Inbox.

The Royals finished a 4-4 road trip by winning four of their past five. Perhaps that builds some momentum for a crucial three-game set with the Indians at Kauffman Stadium starting Friday.

With that in mind, let's get to your questions for the latest installment of the Edward Jones Royals Inbox.

Tweet from @bengrimm1969: Do the Royals have the pitching to make the playoffs, the bullpen seems to have lost some confidence? What have you seen?

It's funny how a baseball season evolves. Back in April and May, the biggest complaint about the Royals was that they didn't have the offense to get to the postseason, and for good reason -- they were on a historic pace in terms of fewest runs scored.

Now, of course, the main concern is the pitching. The bullpen has struggled mightily (are they worn out?) over the past three weeks. But the starters have not been good, either, which, in turn, has taxed the bullpen.

Kansas City's rotation needs to pull it together over these next two weeks and spare the bullpen -- at least until reinforcements arrive with the September callups. As cold as the staff has been lately, it can get equally as hot, too, just in time for the postseason.

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Tweet from @eric_winkler: Is it possible Alex Gordon pulls a Gil Meche in the off season?

I'm starting to get that question a lot, and it's in reference to former Royals right-hander Gil Meche, who walked away from $12 million guaranteed because he didn't think it was fair to Kansas City to take that money and retired.

Gordon isn't going to retire, and he's not walking away from $20 million owed him in each of the 2018 and '19 seasons. I haven't talked to Gordon or general manager Dayton Moore about this, but it's perhaps remotely possible that Gordon could renegotiate the final two years of his deal to defer some of the money (the way NFL players do), thus allowing Moore some flexibility with payroll over the next two seasons. This might help in trying to re-sign guys like Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain.

Like I said, I haven't talked to either party about this, and restructuring deals is not really an MLB thing.

Tweet from @jhb2006: Going forward has the Royals soured any on Bonifacio? What happened to Gordo getting some time to straighten things out?

The Royals haven't soured at all on Jorge Bonifacio. They see him as a big part of the future. Bonifacio absolutely has to improve defensively, though.

Bonifacio's defense seemed to improve in May and June, but it has become an eyesore in the past four weeks. Newer Kansas City fans don't see defense as an issue, but Moore built this foundation years ago on defense first, and that philosophy won't change.

I've noticed Royals fans on Twitter also seem to have overlooked that Bonifacio is in a 7-for-41 (.171) slide with 20 strikeouts as well. But he has a very bright future with Kansas City.

As for Gordon, Ned Yost announced up front it was not a benching -- he just wanted to sit Gordon for two days or so.

Video: KC@OAK: Gordon gives Royals the lead with RBI single

Tweet from @ZacharyBoehm: What is Luke Hochevar's status? If he's able to pitch in September should the royals try to sign him?

Hey, it's our weekly Luke Hochevar inquiry!

As we've said repeatedly in this space, Hochevar's thoracic outlet syndrome surgery was more complicated than others. He could return to the big leagues next spring.

Tweet from @blamberty: Mondesi is having quietly having a nice year in Omaha... what is KC's plan for him, from next month thru the next few years?

Nothing has changed in regards to Raul Mondesi's future. He will be their shortstop for years to come, likely starting in 2018. In the short term, Mondesi will be a September callup.

Tweet from @HuskerInsanity: Who are some potential September call ups who the Royals may consider calling up that haven't played this year in KC?

Not sure we will see anyone who already hasn't been called up. You'll see Mondesi, Billy Burns, Jorge Soler, Terrance Gore, Paulo Orlando, Cam Gallagher (he'll be sent out when Salvador Perez is activated, then recalled), Ramon Torres, Eric Skoglund, Brian Flynn, etc.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals