April 17, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Wade Davis (22) pitches in the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Revisiting a Trade for Wade Davis

May 15, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Wade Davis (22) throws in the second inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Back at the start of the offseason, it appeared likely that Wade Davis was going to be traded. The Colorado Rockies and the Minnesota Twins had been rumored to be interested in the righty, and given his escalating salary, it would have figured that the Royals would be willing to part ways with Davis. Yet, perhaps the Royals were not able to get back sufficient compensation or the rumors were unfounded, but talk of trading Davis eventually faded away.

Now, Davis is expected to contend with Luke Hochevar to fill out the final spot in the rotation, theoretically acting as a placeholder until Yordano Ventura has spent sufficient time in the minor leagues to push back his arbitration clock. However, with Davis costing $4.8 Million this season, and having three team options worth a total of $25 Million, Davis would potentially become a very expensive long reliever/spot starter. For a team that may actually be against it’s payroll limit, it would seemingly make sense to find a trade partner interested in Davis.

Perhaps the Texas Rangers could be that team. With the injury to Derek Holland, the Rangers presently have an opening in their rotation. While they have been linked to Jerome Williams since that injury occurred, Wade Davis may be a more intriguing player. Williams is essentially a fifth starter, someone who does just enough to get by and fill a spot in the rotation. Davis, if nothing else, has displayed the potential to generate strikeouts and likely has more of an upside than Williams.

It is also possible that Davis could be moved during Spring Training, especially if a team has an injury in their rotation. If players such as Aaron Crow and Tim Collins, who are expected to make approximately $1 Million through arbitration this season are on the block, then would it not make sense to find a trade partner for Davis?

Of course, if the Royals are able to resign Ervin Santana or somehow lure Masahiro Tanaka to Kansas City, then it becomes easier to move Davis. Right now, as the roster is presently constructed, the Royals may not feel that it makes sense to explore a trade for Davis unless they become convinced that Hochevar or Ventura can fill that role.

Wade Davis may be one of the co-favorites for the fifth starter role in the Royals rotation, but he also may be the pitcher that makes the most sense to trade. However, the Royals just do not appear to have that option at this point.

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  • cardsfanatik

    I don’t understand how he can dominate in the pen, then come out and suck so bad in the rotation. It’s the same with Hochevar. I think you are either a reliever or a starter. Both pitchers throw much harder when coming out of the bullpen. Which in turn makes their offspeed stuff nastier. Which makes them much more effective. This should tell the Royal’s something. To me it says neither one actually “knows” how to pitch, they are throwers. And expensive ones at that. Many pitchers have made a living off of not having a 95 MPH fastball, these two cannot. Pitchers that don’t have above average fastballs make a living spotting pitches. Hochevar and Davis don’t seem to have that command. When starting you can’t miss up in the zone with a 92 mph fastball, but coming out of the pen and throwing one letter high at 97 is a little different. In my humble opinion, neither one of these guys should be considered for the fifth spot on this years team. Unless they somehow figure out how to pitch with their “starter, stretch it out stuff” instead of their come out of the pen and let it all hang out stuff.

    • jessanders

      The key is number of times through the order. Some pitchers have enough “stuff” and talent to be able to go 3 or 4 times through a batting orders. Others only have the stuff to go once or at most twice through an order.

      Hoch is one of those guys. His stuff is great, but it’s limited. Once a hitter is able to dial in, he’s got it. Davis is like that to a lesser extent. I still feel like he has a chance to become a decent starter, but I wouldn’t want to bet on it as the Royals trying to contend this year.

    • jimfetterolf

      Spring training will make the decisions. I think Hoch is most likely to take #5 because it’s his walk year and Royals will want to see if cutting back on types of pitches and the fix for his problems with runners on translates to the rotation with Davis in the wings like Chen was last year. Then Hoch, Davis, or Guthrie can get traded at ASB, depending on Ventura and Zimmer in Omaha. Already been announced that both Davis and Hochevar will be starters in SP.

      • Royals_Fan

        Where was it said Hoch or Davis will be SP this year? If they get Santana neither will be because Duffy will be the #5 (Shields, Santana, Vargas/Guthrie, Duffy), but everything I’ve read has said that one might. be a SP but they want to see how Spring Training goes before saying anything. I doubt Ventura will start the year with the Royals but based off the history Hoch and Davis have had starting, I feel like the Royals are going to try and find someone else before letting those two take the last starting spot.

        • jimfetterolf

          Spring training, ST. Typo. Sorry.

          • Royals_Fan

            Okay that makes more sense. Ha, I was going to say I don’t think I missed that but either way, I’d keep both in the pen because they did way better there then starting.

          • jimfetterolf

            Both are likely to finish the season in the ‘pen, but I think one starts in the rotation to give Ventura a touch more seasoning and to game service time.

  • Royals_Fan

    So who do you suggest the Royals trade for? The Rangers aren’t going to give us a SP and we don’t have room for another position player and it doesn’t make sense to trade bullpen for bullpen. If they trade him they are trading him they need something in return and just getting cash isn’t going to work. Only reason the Royals trade for cash is if they are certain they are resigning Santana.

    • Eric Akers

      I think they can take a flyer on some single A level type of prospect. A high risk/high reward type of guy. Maybe we can get more if they would also take Crow off our hands. But it would basically be a salary dump.

  • moretrouble

    You’re right, David, about the possibility of Davis being inserted into the rotation this spring. Davis was promised a starting role when he was acquired and I think he’s got great potential. Davis has an advantage over Ventura in experience and age. Ventura would have to pitch awfully well to push Davis back into the pen.

    Any other year, I’d agree with you on Super 2 status regarding Ventura. This year, though, I think they’re preparing to make a run and anything short of the playoffs will be a disappointment. I expect them to take the best squad north, regardless of any other consideration.

    Hochevar? He was hugely successful last year, obviously, and I’d keep him right where he is. I hope he’s not thinking of starting again, because no offense to Luke, he’s found a niche for himself and I hope he realizes it.

    • grantastica

      First off, Davis wasn’t PROMISED anything when the Royals acquired him. Second, Davis was pushed to the pen last year when Duffy returned…Why? Because Davis pitched like horse manure all season long while in the rotation. Third, we are talking about the Royals- Ventura and an arbitration clock will most definitely be punched, meaning he will start the season in AAA barring a freak injury or more personnel moves. Fourth, Hochevar has waaaay more potential in his big toe, than Davis does. I would rather see Luke get the nod to slide back into the rotation than Davis. Hoch reduced his repertoire from five pitches down to three last year, coupled with the ability to really let it loose because he was limited to two innings or less, is what made Luke efficient and effective. So in essence, what made Hoch a better pitcher in 2013- a move to the bullpen, concentrating on three pitches instead of five, and being able to ratchet up his fastball due to limited consecutive innings, is EXACTLY what made Davis efficient and effective in 2012 with the Rays. We have seen what Wade can do with a move back to the rotation, as the Royals inserted him into the five slot in 2013, but we haven’t seen what Hoch can do when he gets a second chance to slide back into the rotation. If Hoch fails, then the Royals will have two dominant relief pitchers who can start in a pinch, and are mightily expensive.

      • moretrouble

        There is plenty of video of Ned and Dayton, made at the time of the trade, saying that Davis would become a starter. The site won’t allow me to post a link, but the video is over a year old and fairly far down the Google rankings. You can find it if you have a mind to look.

        Davis’ career ERA is nearly a full point lower than Hochevar, although the WHIP’s are about the same. What does that mean? Both those guy are very good pitchers. Regarding Hochevar’s big toe, you must have some intimate knowledge of Luke’s anatomy. I’ve never seen his toe and have no idea what you’re talking about.


    Trade Davis ASAP to save money (if nothing else), and then re-sign Santana or Chen. If the season starts with Hoch and Davis on this roster (and not another real rotation arm), then we’ve wasted an opportunity. Someone will bite on a Davis deal once the FA pitching market finally settles in. Right now, teams in need of pitching think they have a shot at Tanaka (or they want to give the appearance to fans and remain relevant) or Garza, Santana, Jimenez etc. The question is, can Moore swallow his pride and admit this part of the Myers/Shields trade was a bust?