Last Friday, the Royals shuffled their roster and designated pitchers Jeremy Jeffress and Tommy Hottovy for assignment (along with outfielder Jason Bourgeois). That took all three off of the 40 man roster and gave the Royals ten days to trade, release or assign them to the minors.
Jeffress and Hottovy were both traded on Thursday. In both cases, the Royals received cash in return – Jeffress was dealt to the Blue Jays where he’ll look to gain command of his arsenal. Hottovy was traded to the Rangers (and the Royals will also get a player to be named later for him).
In Jeffress’s case, he’s hoping a change of scenery will help him return to the form that made him one of the Brewers top prospects before they traded him to the Royals in the Zack Greinke deal. He has a huge arm and a good curveball when it’s working, but the problem is that it rarely works. He can hit triple digits on the radar gun with his fastball, but doesn’t have a lot of command with it. He’s been walk-prone through his whole pro career. He’ll be added to Toronto’s 40 man roster. This is an important point for Jeffress, as he’s failed two drug tests in his minor league career and a third would result in a lifetime ban from baseball. In the past, he’s tested positive for marijuana, but according to his agent, he hasn’t been using.
Hottovy is the home-town boy who made it to his home-town team. After attending Park Hill South High School in the Kansas City area, he then went to Wichita State before wandering the minors. He made his major league debut in 2011 for the Boston Red Sox and signed a minor league deal with the Royals last winter. In 9.1 innings in Kansas City, he had a 2.89 ERA. He threw 50 innings in Triple A, finishing with a 2.52 ERA. He’s mostly a left-handed specialist, but the Rangers are among the best at working with pitchers these days, so they may see something they can harness in him.
Jason Bourgeois, however, has not had his name come up in trade news. He may still make it through waivers and could be assigned to the minors.