Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich is reportedly on the radar of at least one Major League Baseball franchise.
According to the Kansas City Star, the rebuilding Kansas City Royals have been “exploring the possibility” of trying to sign Heimlich as they attempt to collect talent for the future.
The 22-year-old left-hander would fit the bill from a baseball standpoint. Heimlich was viewed as one of college baseball’s top prospects heading into the 2017 MLB Draft. His performance this season has only cemented his ability to be a dominant pitcher. Heimlich helped lead Oregon State to the college World Series after posting a 15–1 record and a 2.42 ERA.
However, Heimlich’s troubling past has led teams to shy away from even considering him. He’s gone undrafted each of the last two years after Sports Illustrated reported that Heimlich had pled guilty to a felony charge of molesting his 6-year-old niece in 2012.
The question of whether it’s worth giving Heimlich a second chance, or worth facing potential backlash from fans, is one all 30 front office’s have been weighing since that report came out.
Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reported the Baltimore Orioles tested the waters last season, before Heimlich ultimately decided to return to college. Now all eyes turn to Royals general manager Dayton Moore to gauge his true interest.
“We continue to seek information that allows us to be comfortable in pursuing Luke,” was Moore’s response when pressed on the subject this week.
The Royals pursuit may prove to be nothing more than a front office doing its due diligence. But the fact it’s Moore who’s admittedly collecting information and not slamming the door shut is significant.
Moore says he’s conscious of making decisions that are in the best interests of the Royals organization, both on and off the field. He’s spoken openly about the importance of developing leaderships skills and creating a family atmosphere that trickles through the organization. During spring training, he even organized a meeting aimed at educating players on the dangers of drugs, alcohol and pornography.
In the opinion of many, signing Heimlich would undermine the tone Moore is trying to set and the character he aims to build in his clubhouse. In the opinion of others, he’d be destroying that notion completely.
So now we wait to see where this all leads. Just the fact though that Moore is thinking about it, is probably a strong indication that a door will open for Heimlich eventually. It’s just a matter of where and when.
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