Kansas City Royals: The Brandon Maurer Decline Continues

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 31: Brandon Maurer
KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 31: Brandon Maurer /

The Brandon Maurer story in Kansas City Royals seems to be getting worse. When acquired, the hope was he could become a vital part of the bullpen. Now, he will be lucky dawn the Royal Blue jersey again.

Brandon Maurer has done very little to win the hearts of Kansas City Royals fans. In fact, he has done very little to help the Royals win. When the Royals acquired him in 2017 the hope was he could become a major part of the bullpen. Maybe even take over as closer in 2019 if/when Kelvin Herrera is playing in a different city.

Obviously, that is not going to happen anymore.

The decline

News broke on Thursday that the Royals, who had already optioned Maurer to Triple-A, have officially outrighted him. Simply put, this means he is no longer on the team’s 40-man roster. Which as much as I was not anticipating this, I am honestly not surprised.

Since being acquired in 2017, Maurer has struggled. Which might be an understatement. During his time in Kansas City last year, Maurer posted a miserable 8.10 ERA over 20.0 innings and 26 appearances. Obviously, this is not the type of pitcher the Royals were hoping the acquire.

Which brings us to 2018. The hope was that he would turn it around and be better. Which we all thought that was not be an outrageous thing to hope for. I mean, how hard is it to do worse than an 8.10 ERA?

After a strong outing in Spring Training, it seemed like the Royals would get a much improved Maurer. His 2.45 ERA over seven games and 7.1 innings showed promise.

And then the Regular Season started.

While in the big leagues in 2018, Maurer has posted an even worse 12.46 ERA over five games and 4.1 innings. Therefore, the Royals sent him to Omaha to try and regain some of the confidence he had lost, and work on his command a bit more.

I would assume the hope was he would stay down for a couple weeks and then come back ready to go. Obviously, this didn’t happen.

While in Omaha it continued to get worse. He has an even worse 13.50 ERA over seven games and 8.0 innings.

During his tenure with the Royals, Maurer has posted an 8.96 ERA in the big leagues. If you were to include his Spring Training and time in Omaha he has an 8.72 ERA and a 10.09 ERA excluding Spring Training. Simply put, this is not good.

A look back at the trade

I am personally not ready to claim that the trade is a failure. However, I am willing to make the statement that as of right now that Maurer has been a failed attempt in Kansas City. But not the trade itself.

The reason I am not willing to claim the whole trade is a failure is because of what else came with it. The Royals acquired Trevor Cahill and Ryan Buchter with Maurer. Obviously, Cahill walked in free agency, but the Royals were able to dump Brandon Moss and his salary during the offseason because they packaged him with Buchter. That in itself is a success.

They were also able to get Jesse Hahn and 23-year-old Heath Fillmyer in the trade. While Hahn has not been healthy yet, Fillmyer could be a solid part of the Royals future rebuild. Fillmyer has made five starts in Omaha this year and has a 5.32 ERA over 22 innings. However, his first outing skews his numbers. If you take out his first start where he went 1.2 innings and gave up five runs, his ERA drops to 2.70 over 20.1 innings.

Final Thoughts

A lot of opinions can go into the Maurer situation. While the trade itself looks like a failure because of how well Matt Strahm is doing this year in the minors, and the “what could be” of 19-year-old Esteury Ruiz, the Royals were able to flip a part of the trade for two pitchers who provide the same amount of intrigue.

While I think we have seen the last of Maurer in Kansas City, I am not fully ready to chalk this trade up as a failure. I still think Hahn and Fillmyer could turn into useable pieces in the Royals rebuild.

Who knows, maybe this trade eventually is named the “Fillmyer-esque” trade, instead of the Maurer trade, similar to the “[James] Shields trade, turned [Wade] Davis trade”?

What do you think Royals fans? Is the trade a failure if they were able to flip Buchter for Fillmyer and Hahn? Have we seen the last of Maurer in Kansas City? Let us know below!