Tag: Wade Davis

Cubs’ Wade Davis Splash Turns Spare Piece into Elite Chapman Replacement

Not even the defending champs can rest on their laurels.

The Chicago Cubs aren’t, clearly, as they made their first big splash of the offseason Wednesday, acquiring All-Star closer Wade Davis from the Kansas City Royals, per Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com.

It’s a simple, straight-up swap, with 24-year-old outfielder Jorge Soler going to Kansas City. That’s no small sacrifice for the Cubs, as we’ll delve into shortly.     

For now, though, let’s focus on what Chicago got: a replacement for free-agent flamethrower Aroldis Chapman and a nice dose of security at the back end of the bullpen.

Davis has been nothing short of elite since moving into a full-time relief role in 2014. During that span, he’s posted a 1.18 ERA with 11.53 strikeouts per nine innings next to just 2.91 walks per nine.

His 6.3 WAR from 2014 to 2016 ranks fifth among relief pitchers, behind only Dellin Betances, Chapman, Andrew Miller and Kenley Jansen, according to FanGraphs’ measure.

Then there’s Davis’ postseason pedigree. During the Royals’ deep runs of 2014 and 2015, Davis logged 25 mostly high-leverage innings, yielding just one earned run with 38 strikeouts and five walks. Here, check out some highlights of his six-out save in Game 4 of the 2015 Fall Classic:

If that reminds you of the work guys such as Miller, Chapman and Jansen did in the 2016 playoffs, well, it should. Davis is cut from the same cloth. He’s got the stuff and the fortitude to play the role of super-reliever.

He’s also got familiarity with Chicago skipper Joe Maddon, who was his manager from 2009 to 2012 with the Tampa Bay Rays, when Davis was mostly a starter.

As the Cubs edged close to acquiring Davis on Tuesday night, the Washington Nationals swooped in with a “late push,” per ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark

Chicago ultimately won out by cashing in Soler. That stings. The young Cuban is under team control for four more years and is loaded with raw tools. His production has declined since an eye-opening debut in 2014, when he posted a .903 OPS in 24 games, but he has the potential to develop into a high-caliber offensive player.

The Cubs could afford to jettison him because of an outfield depth chart that features Kyle Schwarber, Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward, Albert Almora Jr., Matt Szczur and newly signed Jon Jay, plus reigning National League MVP Kris Bryant.

For all his talent, Soler was a spare part, as ESPN.com’s Jesse Rogers spelled out:

The trade really comes down to the multiple years of control with Soler versus the one year for Davis. If you’re a Cubs fan, ask yourself this: Who’s likely to have a bigger impact on the team in 2017 — a part-time outfielder or the closer on the reigning world champions? We know Davis is going to see a lot of action; we can’t say the same about Soler…

Davis comes with some risk and downside. He’ll be a free agent after next season, so he’s something of a rental, though the Cubs could try to hammer out an extension. He battled injuries last season and landed on the disabled list twice with a strained forearm. His average fastball velocity dipped slightly, from 95.8 in 2015 to 95.0.

He finished the season on a high note, however, tallying six saves and fanning 15 in his final 9.2 innings.

Assuming the health issues are behind him, the $10 million he’s owed in 2017 could be a relative bargain. Mark Melancon already broke the record for a relief-pitcher contract when he got four years and $62 million with the San Francisco Giants. Chapman and Jansen will surely blow past that total when they find homes.

The Cubs have other solid arms in the pen, including Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon and Carl Edwards Jr. With Chapman out the door, though, this was one of the few areas where Chicago could upgrade.

“You’re always looking to augment bullpens,” Maddon said, per MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat. “I think every organization, after this past postseason, is looking to re-invent their bullpens in different ways based on how we utilized ours.”

Added general manager Jed Hoyer, per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, “The more relievers you can add, the more we can add that late and have multiple weapons, the better.”

Davis is a weapon. Now, he’s in the Cubs’ holster. 

The champs, in other words, aren’t resting on their laurels. 


All statistics and contract information courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Wade Davis to Cubs: Twitter Reacts to Trade Involving Jorge Soler

The Chicago Cubs traded outfielder Jorge Soler to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for closer Wade Davis on Wednesday.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today and Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported the deal was done. 

The Cubs announced the deal on Twitter by showing their fans a GIF of what Davis’ fastball can do to opposing hitters:

Soler offered a farewell to the franchise that gave him his first opportunity to play Major League Baseball:

Joel Sherman of the New York Post pondered which team will look back on its deal with the Cubs for a closer more fondly:

The Cubs needed to do something to address the back of their bullpen with Aroldis Chapman entering free agency. Since it didn’t appear as if they were going to spend the money for one of the big closers (Chapman, Kenley Jansen), Davis became an excellent fallback plan for the Cubs. 

ESPN’s Jesse Rogers likes what the Cubs did with this deal:

This is likely a calculated move by the Royals, with Dave Cameron of FanGraphs writing there are causes for concern with Davis moving forward:

Those DL stints in July were scary, especially because flexor bundle strains often are followed in the not too distant future by the words Dr. James Andrews. Davis’ strikeout rate has gone from 39% to 31% to 27% the last three years, and his wOBA allowed is driven in large part by a complete lack of home runs; he’s only given up three in the last three years, thanks to the lowest HR/FB rate in baseball. Davis has dominated, but especially more recently, it’s been more (Mark) Melancon’s kind of domination than Chapman’s or Jansen’s.

MLB Stat of the Day did counteract some of that skepticism with this nugget about Davis’ performance over the previous three seasons:

Soler, 24, hit .238 with 12 home runs and 31 RBI across 86 games this past season. He was sidelined for much of the summer, however, with a hamstring issue.

Even though Soler’s tenure with the Cubs didn’t go the way anyone hoped it would after he signed with the team out of Cuba in 2012, Christopher Kamka of Comcast SportsNet Chicago did note he bookended things nicely:

The Cubs, even after trading Soler and possibly losing Dexter Fowler in free agency, still have too many outfielders for three spots.

Ben Zobrist and Kris Bryant can play left field, but the team also has to get Kyle Schwarber back out there. Albert Almora and Jon Jay could be penciled in for center field, while Jason Heyward is capable of moving over there with Bryant in right, if that’s what manager Joe Maddon wants to do. 

Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star did note the Royals are now in a similar predicament in terms of having too many outfielders:

MLB.com’s Jane Lee reported the Oakland Athletics have had talks with the Royals about Jarrod Dyson, which would take care of Kansas City’s issue. The Royals could also use Soler at DH if they wanted to after Kendrys Morales signed with the Toronto Blue Jays earlier this offseason.

Soler never lived up to the hype in his three seasons with the Cubs. While he’s still young and has a high ceiling, he didn’t flash superstar potential in Chicago. He was excellent in the 2015 postseason, however, hitting .474 with three home runs and five RBI in seven games, so Soler could yet become an MLB star.

The Royals will hope the opportunity to provide him more playing time and at-bats will spark that ascension to stardom, especially since they are facing an uncertain future after 2017 with Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain due to become free agents. 

Soler gives the Royals some versatility as an outfielder or DH, as well as a tremendously high ceiling for a player who is still young and under team control through 2020. He knows there will be ample playing time for him now to just focus on becoming the hitter he was expected to be in Chicago.

The Cubs did what they could to turn Soler into a star, but they were also in a situation the past two years in which they were winning and needed to put their best team on the field. 

Davis gives the Cubs exactly what they need for 2017, and the front office wasn’t forced to overspend on a free-agent closer. It’s a rare trade that looks smart and necessary from both sides. 


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

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Wade Davis to Cubs for Jorge Soler: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

The Kansas City Royals shook up their bullpen Wednesday after trading All-Star closer Wade Davis to the Chicago Cubs for Jorge Soler.  

The Cubs announced the deal after Bob Nightengale of USA Today first reported the agreement. Soler took to Twitter after the announcement to thank Chicago’s fans for his time with the club before commenting on his move to Kansas City:

Davis had been an instrumental part of Kansas City’s recent resurgence. He was a middling starter after coming up with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2009 and during his first year with the Royals in 2013, but a move to the bullpen turned his career around. 

In 2014 to 2015, Davis put up numbers that were as good as any reliever in Major League Baseball over that span. 

He remained strong in 2016 with a 1.87 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 43.1 innings, but his walk rate (3.3 per nine innings) was his highest since 2013. He also had two stints on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right forearm.

The Royals are in a difficult spot heading into 2017. Several core members from the 2015 championship team are entering the final year of their contracts, including Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas. 

Davis was also in that group, but now that he’s gone, it creates financial flexibility for the upcoming season in Kansas City. His contract will pay him $10 million in 2017, per Spotrac.

The Royals still have Kelvin Herrera to close games. 

Its two-year playoff run in 2014 and 2015 briefly altered the way Kansas City does business, with Cot’s Baseball Contracts estimating its payroll last season at $131.5 million. That’s not a level this franchise can consistently operate on, so trading a reliever and adding an impact asset it controls through 2020 is the right move. 

The Cubs will happily take advantage of the Royals’ transition phase. They have a solid bullpen, even with the possible loss of Aroldis Chapman to free agency, as Hector Rondon has 77 saves since 2014. 

However, adding an impact arm to the team’s crop of relievers gives Cubs manager Joe Maddon depth and versatility—areas in which the defending World Series champions were lacking. 

In return, the Cubs deal from a crowded position group. The potential loss of free agent Dexter Fowler takes away one option, but they can still use some combination of Ben Zobrist, Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward, Albert Almora Jr., Jon Jay and Kris Bryant in the outfield. 

Soler has never been able to put it all together since signing with Chicago in 2012, due to injuries and inconsistent performance. He started to look like a future star in the second half last season with a .258/.348/.515 line in 36 games. 

That’s a small sample size; though, at 24 years old, Soler is still young enough to develop into a star right fielder.

Moving Davis now, while painful for Kansas City fans, represents the Royals’ best opportunity to have financial flexibility in the offseason and keep adding young, cost-controlled talent who can help them return to glory next season. 

Davis comes with risk after his injuries last year, but the Cubs are a franchise with the financial resources and depth to take on his contract with the hopes he can return to his 2014-15 levels when he was the best reliever in baseball. 

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Playing Fact or Fiction with All of MLB’s Hottest 2016 Winter Meetings Buzz

Like a cotton candy maker, baseball’s winter meetings tend to spit out anything that sticks.

Sure, deals are made like the one that saw Chris Sale traded to the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday. But speculation, more than anything, is the product of the meetings.

It’s tough to determine which of the hottest thoughts, rumors and conjecture might end up being true, but we’ll give it a try and play or fiction with what has emerged thus far from baseball’s annual conclave.

Begin Slideshow

Wade Davis Trade Rumors: Latest News, Speculation Surrounding Royals RP

Kansas City Royals closer Wade Davis has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason as bullpen-hungry teams look to bolster their rosters.

Continue for updates.

Dodgers Reportedly Interested in Davis

Monday, Dec. 5

Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reported the Los Angeles Dodgers “have shown interest” in Davis but that it’s “unclear” if the Royals are ready to sell.

Cubs Reportedly Eyeing Davis

Monday, Dec. 5

Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported the Chicago Cubs are among the teams looking into trading for Davis.

Davis Reportedly Is Firmly on Trade Block

Monday, Dec. 5

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports shared what he was hearing regarding the free-agent market for bullpen arms and how that would impact Davis:

Mark Melancon has since agreed to a deal with the San Francisco Giants, according to Buster Olney of ESPN The Magazine and Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Davis Would Have No Shortage of Suitors on Trade Market

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports noted that the trade market for Davis should be strong, while Morosi cited the new collective bargaining agreement as the likely basis for a trade: “Without the ability to collect first-round picks on departing free agents, Kansas City is more likely to deal Davis now than watch him depart after the 2017 season.”

Davis, 31, was excellent in 2016, finishing 2-1 with a 1.87 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 27 saves in 30 opportunities and 47 strikeouts in 43.1 innings pitched.

With Kelvin Herrera and promising young pitcher Matt Strahm (25)—if he isn’t converted to a starting role, as the Royals will give him the chance to start in spring training—Kansas City has the arms in the back of the bullpen to make Davis expendable. And the Royals have areas they could address, including their starting rotation and shortstop.

Davis, meanwhile, is a cheaper alternative to the teams that miss out on the top trio of closers in free agency—Melancon, Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen. Add it all up, and a Davis trade seems imminent.


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

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MLB Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz on Wade Davis, Derek Dietrich and More

It’s not hot-stove season for Major League Baseball just yet, but trade rumblings are starting to crop up with November right around the corner.

When it comes to early trade rumors, most of the teams involved are reportedly seeking the same thing: starting pitching.

Without wasting any time, here’s a rundown of the latest buzz circulating in MLB‘s fall rumor mill. 


Marlins Dangling Adeiny Hechavarria and Derek Dietrich

The Miami Marlins are looking to bolster their starting pitching staff, and they’re reportedly intent on parting with a couple of infielders to improve their depth on the mound.

“The Marlins are expected to consider trade offers for shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and jack-of-all trades Derek Dietrich in an attempt to acquire pitching,” the Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson reported Sunday. “They value Dietrich and believe he’s starter-caliber, so Miami would want quality in return.”

While it’s unclear whom the Marlins will target, one scout told Jackson that Dietrich could bring back a potential starter.

“Maybe Hechavarria gets you a No. 4 starter,” the scout added. “[Marcell] Ozuna gets you something pretty good if you want to part ways.”

Dietrich’s versatility makes him an intriguing trade chip, and the fact that he’s coming off the best season of his career at the plate only bolsters his value.

After batting .256 with a .346 on-base percentage during the 2015 season, Dietrich posted a .279/.374/.425 slash line while hitting seven home runs and driving in a career-high 42 runs.

Then there’s Hechavarria, who would be a fine defensive upgrade for a team in need of help at shortstop.

Following 2013 and 2014 seasons that saw Hechavarria post 0.6 cumulative defensive wins above replacement, the 27-year-old posted a 1.6 dWAR mark in 2015 and a career-best 1.7 this past season. 

At the very least, one of those players should help the Marlins land a starting pitcher who can provide relief at the back end of the rotation.


Royals Make Wade Davis Available for Trade

Wade Davis has been one of MLB’s most reliable closers over the past three seasons, but the Kansas City Royals could reportedly look to move the 31-year-old to improve a starting staff that finished ninth among all American League clubs with a 4.21 ERA.

The Royals intend to pick up Davis’ $10 million option but are open to dealing him,” the Boston Globe‘s Nick Cafardo reported. “A Royals source indicated the team would like to get controllable starting pitching in return. Davis makes sense for a lot of teams, including Boston and Toronto.”

Although Davis has been stellar, it makes sense that Kansas City would want to explore his value on the trade market.

First and foremost, Davis is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after the 2017 season. As a result, the Royals may want to maximize the return on their investment and net a team-controlled starting pitcher in return, as Cafardo‘s source noted.

Additionally, Davis battled right forearm discomfort that sidelined him for half of July and all of August.

Finding a viable No. 3 starter under team control for a one-year rental like Davis could be difficult, but perhaps the Royals can sell a contending team that has starting depth and needs a bullpen upgrade on swinging a deal.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz Amid 2016 World Series

While the baseball world has focused its attention on the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians in the World Series, the offseason is approaching fast, which means trade talk is already beginning to heat up.

The rest of Major League Baseball’s 28 teams yearn to be in the position the Cubs and Indians are currently, and trading is a big reason why Chicago and Cleveland have developed into the two best teams in the sport.

With the winter frenzy of player movement on the horizon, here is a look at some of the biggest names rumored to be available via trade this offseason.


Wade Davis

Kansas City Royals righty Wade Davis has developed into one of the league’s best closers, but with KC needing to make improvements elsewhere to return to the playoffs, he could potentially be on the move.

According to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball, the Royals have received a great deal of interest in Davis, and they have made him available if the right offer comes their way.

Heyman added Kansas City wants to cut payroll, and dealing Davis would be a good way to do so since his 2017 club option is worth $10 million, according to Spotrac.

Davis racked up 27 saves in 30 chances last season to go along with a 1.87 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 47 strikeouts in 43.1 innings.

While his numbers were fantastic, they actually represented a significant drop-off from the previous two years.

Davis only closed for a portion of 2014 and 2015, but in those seasons combined he went 17-3 with 17 saves, a 0.97 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings.

He also posted four saves and didn’t allow a single run in eight appearances during last year’s playoffs, as he was a driving force behind the Royals winning the World Series.

With the Indians making a deep run due largely to the arms of relievers Andrew Miller and Cody Allen, Davis is the type of player who could take a team to the next level and push them into World Series contention.

Because of that, the Royals would be wise to put a high price tag on Davis, as a team in desperate need of bullpen help may very well be willing to meet it.


Brian McCann

Following one of the worst seasons of his impressive MLB career, New York Yankees catcher Brian McCann is a player the Bronx Bombers would likely prefer to move on from.

The seven-time All-Star spent his first nine seasons with the Atlanta Braves, and a reunion is possible, as Heyman reported the two sides had discussions during the season, which could resume once the offseason hits.

Per MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, the Braves are very much in the market for a backstop, but a high asking price could prevent them from bringing McCann back into the fold. He reported the Yanks want either 25-year-old pitcher Mike Foltynewicz or 25-year-old outfielder Ender Inciarte in exchange for McCann.

That seems like a lot for Atlanta to give up on the surface, especially since McCann is set to make $17 million in each of the next two seasons, according to Spotrac.

Although McCann posted his best batting average during his three years with the Yankees last season at .242, his 20 home runs and 58 RBI were a steep decline from the 26 homers and 94 RBI he put up in 2015.

The biggest reason for New York to make a move is the emergence of Gary Sanchez, who hit .299 with 20 home runs and 42 RBI in just 53 games for the Yankees last season.

It will likely be difficult for McCann to get consistent playing time with the Yankees, and while he would be a good asset for a Braves team with plenty of young pitchers, it wouldn’t be wise to give up too much for a player New York may desperately want to trade.

Foltynewicz and Inciarte both have star potential and could blossom in the Bronx for a Yanks team that is suddenly stacked with young talent.

Eating a large portion of McCann’s salary could be such a deal more appealing for the Braves, but New York may need to lower its asking price to make it a reality.


Zack Cozart

After nearly acquiring him during the 2016 season, the Seattle Mariners are reportedly still interested in making a deal for Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart.

According to Bob Dutton of the News Tribune, a trade between the two sides was close, and talks are expected to resume during the offseason.

Cozart enjoyed a solid campaign that saw him hit .252 with a career-high 16 home runs, as well as 50 RBI and 67 runs scored.

The 31-year-old veteran bounced back nicely from a couple down years, as inconsistency and injuries prevented him from contributing at the level he displayed in 2012 and 2013.

On top of Cozart‘s strong bat, he is also a plus-fielder, as evidenced by his career Defensive Runs Saved Above Average mark of 54, per Baseball-Reference.com.

Cozart would be a good fit for the M’s, as they didn’t receive much offensive production from the shortstop position in 2016.

Regular starter Ketel Marte hit .259 with just one home run and 33 RBI most often as a bottom-of-the-order guy, while Cozart is capable of contributing higher in the lineup.

The Mariners stayed in the playoff race until the latter stages of the 2016 season, and while Cozart may not put them over the top on his own, he would fill a huge position of weakness and at least help Seattle come one stop closer to ending its postseason drought.


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Wade Davis Trade Rumors: Latest News, Speculation Surrounding Royals RP

The Kansas City Royals are reportedly willing to part with star closer Wade Davis if the right trade offer comes along during the offseason.

Continue for updates.

Royals Listening To Offers For Davis

Friday, Oct. 14

Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported Friday teams have started calling Kansas City about Davis, and the front office is listening as it looks to make payroll cuts before the 2017 season.

The Royals hold a $10 million club option on Davis for next year, which includes a $2.5 million buyout clause, according to Spotrac. Heyman noted picking it up is a “formality.”

The 31-year-old reliever is coming off another terrific season at the back end of Kansas City’s bullpen. He racked up 27 saves while blowing just three chances to go along with a 1.87 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 47 strikeouts in 43.1 innings.

To put in perspective how good he’s been over the past three years, his outstanding 1.87 ERA was still nearly the combined totals of his 2014 (1.00) and 2015 (0.94) seasons. It’s a far cry from 2013, when he struggled to a 5.32 ERA while spending most of his time as a starter.

His name also popped up in the rumor mill leading up to the trade deadline with the Royals on the fringe of the playoff race at the time. Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star passed along the closer’s comments about trying to keep his mind off what could happen.

“People talk about it sometimes, even players,” Davis said in July. “And when it comes down to it, we’re here because, one, we love to play baseball. And obviously, we’re here for our teammates, but most of all, (we’re here for) our families.”

The only concern is his health. He landed on the disabled list twice during the regular season with forearm problems, which other teams will surely want to look into before giving up any key assets.

Kansas City may be best served waiting awhile to make a move, though. The free-agent market is littered with top-tier relievers, led by Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon, which could limit what teams are willing to offer for Davis for the time being.

If the Royals wait until those other marquee closers sign new contracts over the winter, they could get better value on the trade market from a team that missed out on the free agents.


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Wade Davis Injury: Updates on Royals Closer’s Elbow and Return

Kansas City Royals closer Wade Davis is still recovering from a right forearm strain he suffered in early July. He has been placed on the disabled list, and it is uncertain when he will be able to return.

Continue for updates.

Davis Placed on 15-Day DL

Sunday, July 31

The Royals announced Davis had been placed on the disabled list on Sunday, adding that pitcher Matt Strahm will be called up in his place.

Davis Continues to Struggle with Elbow Issues

Davis was forced to hit the 15-day disabled list after initially straining his forearm, which held him out for more than two weeks. 

He looked fine after returning July 16, as he didn’t allow a run and gave up just two hits in four appearances while picking up two saves. 

But on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels, Davis allowed two runs on two hits and three walks, though he closed out a 7-5 win.

Davis has been one of the premier relievers-turned-closers over the past three years, as he’s allowed just 22 runs since the start of the 2014 season.

His ability to close out the opposition late in games is what helped the Royals make two consecutive World Series appearances, including a win over the New York Mets in 2015 where he fired the final pitch:

Despite his dominance, his name recently cropped up in trade talks with the MLB non-waiver trade deadline coming up on Monday, per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star. 

A trip to the disabled list with a day to go until the deadline should eliminate any chance of a trade. 

However, the Royals find themselves without another key bullpen arm, as reliever Luke Hochevar recently went on the 15-day DL due to symptoms associated with thoracic outlet syndrome. 

They’ll now have to rely on Kelvin Herrera to carry the bullpen in Davis’ absence. With the Royals entering Saturday night 10 games out of first place in the American League Central, their chances of a postseason berth could worsen if Davis has to miss an extended period. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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Wade Davis Trade Rumors: Latest News, Speculation on Royals Pitcher

Dominant Kansas City Royals closer Wade Davis is reportedly generating interest ahead of the Aug. 1 trade deadline as the team is forced to make a tough decision about whether to buy or sell.

Continue for updates.

Nationals Reportedly Have Interest in Davis

Friday, July 29

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the Washington Nationals are talking to Kansas City regarding Davis’ availability.

Dodgers Emerge As Potential Davis Landing Spot

Thursday, July 28

Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported Wednesday that the Los Angeles Dodgers are one team interested in potentially acquiring Davis. He also noted that the reliever would prefer to remain in Kansas City with “all things being equal,” though.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, citing sources, reported that the Royals “are trying to package Ian Kennedy” in a potential Davis trade. Passan noted that the Dodgers are a “strong match” and that the team wants Davis and can take on Kennedy’s salary.

Davis Would Be Outstanding Bullpen Option for Contending Team

Davis is enjoying another outstanding season at the back end of the Royals bullpen. He’s posted a 1.60 ERA and 1.10 WHIP while striking out 32 batters in 33.2 innings. And amazingly, those are his worst numbers since 2013, which showcases how terrific he’s been since moving to the pen full time.

The Royals’ struggles could make him expendable over the next few days, though. They own a 49-51 record at the 100-game mark. That leaves them 8.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central and 6.5 games behind the final wild-card spot.

Typically, that type of deficit combined with a 7-15 record in July would lead a team to sell. The decision is a bit more complicated for Kansas City because it’s more difficult for the reigning World Series champions to give up on a title defense before the trade deadline.

On Monday, Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star passed along comments from Royals general manager Dayton Moore, who’s not taking anything off the table.

“I wouldn’t categorize any player as untouchable—never have,” Moore said. “We’ll always evaluate somebody’s level of interest and what their level of interest may mean to the improvement of our team, in terms of players that they would be willing to part with. That’s what you do.”

If Kansas City ultimately decides to move some key pieces, Davis figures to become a top asset and should demand more return now than he would in the offseason or at next year’s deadline. That’s because he’s under team control for another year, per Spotrac, eliminating the risk of a rental acquisition.

The Dodgers represent a unique fit because they already lead MLB in bullpen ERA at 2.97, according to ESPN.com. They are looking to bolster that aspect of the team further thanks to concerns about the starting staff, highlighted by Clayton Kershaw’s back injury.

All told, the Royals haven’t fully committed to selling quite yet, and it sounds like Davis wants to stay with the organization, if possible. But if the decision is made to start looking toward the future, the Dodgers figure to face plenty of competition for the high-end closer on the trade market.


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