5) Wade Davis
Wade Davis has had video game like stats since the KC Royals moved him into the bullpen. 1.0, 0.94, 1.11, those are Davis’s ERA’s in 2014, 2015, and now in 2016. The man is just a flat out ridiculous bullpen arm that smashes the hopes of opponents and their fans of a comeback when he enters the game.
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Moving Davis from the 8th inning setup role to the closer role in 2015 made no real difference as he has remained just as dominant. He is the best reliever on the staff, no doubt about it, but he is also the best trade piece if the Royals are out of contention in 2016.
There are several reasons, all sort of combining, to make Davis available. The first reason is that the KC Royals bullpen is deep, and other arms such as Herrera, and Soria are under team control beyond 2017 where Davis’s contract expires at the conclusion of the 2017 season. There is a team option on Davis’s contract in 2017 for $10 million and then he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
I believe Herrera is fully capible to take over the closers role at some point and Herrera is under team control until 2019. Soria just signed a 3 year deal with KC where his contract also ends following the 2019 season. With the two of them on board for the next 3 years, absent Davis, the Royals would need one more high quality bullpen arm to continue the dominance they have shown in the past 2-3 seasons.
A Davis trade would certainly bring in a few top prospects in return, and not leave the Royals bullpen completely empty. Further, if Davis continues to dominate this year and the next. It is unlikely the Royals will be able to afford to keep him AND sign some of the core players to long term deals.
As of right now, it looks like the KC Royals will be buyers at the non-waiver Trade Deadline in 2016. But if the rookie magic fades away, and there are more big losing streaks than winning streaks coming. Some combination of these 5 trade options could totally restock the Royals farm system ensuring there isn’t another multi-100 loss season streak looming in the near future.