KC Royals: Playoff Bullpen Usage Enhancing Wade Davis’ Value

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Sep 3, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Wade Davis (17) checks a runner at first in the ninth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 3, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Wade Davis (17) checks a runner at first in the ninth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /
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KC Royals reliever Wade Davis is gaining trade value as teams utilize relievers more than ever before in the 2016 post-season.

Teams really are pulling their starters earlier than ever before this post-season. The tactic seems to have worked to suppress offense in the payoffs more than in the recent past.

These trends mean that dominant relievers should gain value this winter. I’m not the only one who thinks this will happen. The recent flood of inquiries received by the Kansas City Royals about Wade Davis pretty much confirms this conclusion.

On one hand, Davis’ trade value is likely to peak this winter. If you’re going to trade him, dealing him before the season starts should yield a rich haul. On the other hand, dealing Davis might cripple the KC Royals post-season hopes with bullpens more important than ever before.

Just which way should general manager Dayton Moore jump this winter?

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Of course, that answer will depend on just how much Moore can get for Wade Davis in trade. Another part of the equation is can the Kansas City Royals improve their bullpen despite giving up Wade Davis?

What Will The Royals Need In A Wade Davis Trade?

That last requirement would seem rather contradictory. How can the KC Royals IMPROVE their bullpen, and their post-season chances, while giving up one of the most dominant closers in the game?

For the Kansas City Royals to get more production from their pen while trading Davis, at least two of the following four things have to happen:

  1. The Royals have positive information about Greg Holland‘s rehab that most of their rivals don’t due to their long-term relationship with him. This would allow them to sign Holland to a bargain, one-year deal as he re-establishes his value.
  2. Matt Strahm, or other minor-league arms, have to step up as a dominant bullpen force for a full-season in 2017.
  3. Joakim Soria bounces back from his horrible 2016.
  4. Dayton Moore finds some undervalued relievers in either free-agency or on the trade market.

At the very least, a Wade Davis deal will have to include at least one young, major-league ready starting pitcher with top-of-the-rotation upside. The KC Royals would have to put up with his growing pains, but would only need him to be a no. 5 starter in 2017.

Of course, you don’t do a Wade Davis deal if you only get one big prospect. The Kansas City Royals would have to use a Davis trade to replenish their farm system after moving five prospects to obtain Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist in 2015. Such a trade could provide a jump start on rebuilding the team after the impending exodus of free-agents after 2017.

Ideally, a Wade Davis trade would also bring back a bat that can help the KC Royals lineup in 2017 plus pitching depth.

Avoiding The Worst Of Both Worlds

The reason you pull off such a trade is that Dayton Moore might not want to find himself in contention next season, but fail down the stretch. Such a result would put the KC Royals in the worst of both worlds. They’d fail to enjoy one last run at the post-season, without cashing out any of their departing free-agents.

Next: KC Prospect Josh Staumont Excels In Arizona Fall League

You couldn’t really call such a result a disaster. Winning the 2015 World Series has validated Dayton Moore’s tenure no matter what happens down the road. But, it would put a considerable crimp in the Kansas City Royals hopes of succeeding over the long-term.

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