The Reds have a lefty reliever who might fill a role in the KC Royals’ bullpen.
Jesse Biddle looks like a pitcher. He stands 6-feet-five and weighs 220 pounds. And for a time, Biddle looked like a major league hurler in the making.
That time was 2018, his rookie season with the Atlanta Braves. He found his way into the Braves’ bullpen, then into 60 games, and posted an impressive 6-0, 3.11 ERA record with almost 10 strikeouts per nine innings.
His initial success wasn’t terribly surprising—he’d been a fair starting pitcher in the Philadelphia system after the Phillies made him a first round draft choice (27th overall) in the 2010 amateur draft. But he had Tommy John surgery after the 2015 season and, after missing 2016, ended up with Atlanta in 2017. The Braves made him a reliever.
Control became his nemesis, though, and the Braves traded him to Seattle in late May 2019; after giving up 14 runs in 11 innings, the Mariners waived him and he finished the season with the Rangers, where he surrendered eight more runs in 5.1 innings. His combined three-team ERA was 10.47 with a walk rate of 6.6 per nine frames.
So why might the KC Royals have interest in Biddle? He’s pitched well before, had Tommy John surgery, and is struggling, which makes him an almost perfect candidate for the kind of reclamation effort KC general manager Dayton Moore likes.
And he’s a left-hander, something the Royals don’t have many of; although the three-batter rule is making southpaw relievers less important, clubs can still use them. And that they seem mysteriously determined to not give lefty Richard Lovelady a real chance, and only talk of moving Danny Duffy to the bullpen, they might consider Biddle.
It would be a long, long shot, and one the KC Royals shouldn’t take. Lovelady deserves a shot, and it wouldn’t be as long as Biddle.