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.