Aug 12, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Wade Davis (22) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

What to do With Wade Davis?

Jun 16, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Wade Davis (22) reacts as he walks off the mound against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The key to the trade that sent Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi, amongst others, to the Tampa Bay Rays was obviously James Shields. The Royals knew what they were getting with Shields – a potential top of the rotation starter that could fill a void that they had since Zack Greinke was traded following the 2010 season. Yet, they also acquired an intriguing player in Wade Davis.

Davis had his moments as a starter for the Rays over his first two seasons, but truly broke out as a reliever in 2012. He added over two miles per hour to his fastball over previous seasons, and Davis struck out over eleven betters per nine innings. It appeared as though Davis had found his niche.

However, the Royals, in need to depth in their rotation, plugged Davis back in as a starter. As much as Davis had issues as a starter in Tampa, he was even worse with the Royals. In 24 starts, Davis was 6-10 with a 5.67 ERA. Yet, when the Royals sent Davis back to the bullpen, the turnaround was remarkable. In his seven relief outings, Davis gave up seven baserunners in ten innings, going 2-1 with a 0.90 ERA. His fastball velocity crept back up to where it had been the previous year, and Davis seemed to be a much different pitcher.

Going into 2014, the Royals may have several open spots in their rotation. With Shields and Jeremy Guthrie the only starters that are likely assured of being in the rotation, the Royals may look at putting Davis back into the rotation again. However, at this point, it appears as though Davis may be best suited for a role in the bullpen, slotting in as a middle reliever. If he continues to pitch as well as he has in relief, it may be possible that Davis can even develop into a solid setup man, giving the Royals bullpen yet another option in the latter innings.

It may be tempting to regard Wade Davis as an option in the rotation, but at this point, it may be fair to wonder as to whether or not he can be a starter. At this point, for Davis to make a real impact upon the Royals, it appears as though it will be as a reliever.

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  • jimfetterolf

    All a matter of him fixing his tendency to overthrow and fly open. He had a lot of good starts last year, a few really terrible ones that ruined his numbers to save the bullpen, and quite a few alright starts. He knows what the problem is and if he fixes it he’ll be in the rotation, if not he’ll be a late set-up man.

    Lee Judge interviewed him a few times last year and they discussed the problems. Davis has a good attitude and is working to harness his exceptionally good stuff. He understands that he earned the demotion and what it will take to get back to being in the rotation. I’m optimistic.

    • Dave Hill

      I actually really like him in a setup role. Also feel that he could potentially end up as a closer, but the Royals have plenty of other options before Davis would get a shot.


    My guess is that they get rid of Hoch rather than pay him 5 million, and Davis takes his spot as the occasional set up man. If Herrara doesn’t get it together he could become more of the regular set up guy. I can’t imagine Moore would get rid of him since that would be admitting defeat, and it would make that trade look even worse.

  • Ed Connealy

    No way he can be in the rotation. I’m w/ you guys, would love to see him take Hoche’s current role ( assuming we bundle Hoche with someone else in a trade)

  • Bret Hedenkamp

    I would like to see if putting both Butler and Holland up for trade could net a stud 2B and ROF. Davis could be a very good closer. Sorry, but Hoch has to go in exchange for doing what it takes to sign Santana. Most teams in the AL use the DH as a chance to give players a rest and look for good match ups against the SP. I’d love to see how long a career Salvy could have as a Royals catcher and watch his bat get better if he could do ~1/3 of the DH. If we don’t get a stud ROF then Maxwell could get another 1/3 with the remainder of the team picking up the remainder of AB’s.

    We learned what other good teams (besides develop their own talent and spend money) have done for years: to get something (Shields & Davis) you have to give up something (Myers). They need to do it again because as much good talent as we have in the minors, it’s mostly in the lower minors!