The KC Royals have acquired another bullpen arm

(Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images) /

Every KC Royals fan knows the pitching has been lackluster this season. That could change with the addition of a new player.

Wednesday afternoon, Kansas City acquired righthanded reliever Joel Payamps from the Blue Jays in return for cash. Payamps was good for the Jays this season with a 30-inning, 22-game 2.70 ERA, .196 OBA and 1.067 WHIP.

He will join Triple-A Omaha.

But why did the Blue Jays give Payamps up, and what can KC fans expect from him?

Considering his good numbers, why did Payamps get traded to the KC Royals?

Tyson Shushkewich of JaysJournal, our sister FanSided site that covers the Blue Jays, suggested that designating Payamps for assignment recently was a mistake on Toronto’s part. The move was clearly made to make room for Ryan Borucki, who was coming off the 60-day Injured List. What probably perplexed Toronto fans was why Payamps was DFA’d instead of being optioned to the Jays’ Triple-A site.

Indeed, it is a pressing question. In addition to his 2.70 ERA, Payamps has a 6.60 K/9, a 2.0 K/BB ratio, and a .220 BABIP. He hasn’t allowed a run or hit in his last 4.2 innings of big league relief.

Perhaps the move was made because of a lingering back issue, then. According to, Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo suggested in late June that Payamps had experienced some kind of back problem at some point. But the fact he pitched just a couple of days before, recorded a 1.93 ERA with 10 strikeouts and a .094 OBA in June, and was optioned to Triple-A June 30 instead of being placed on the IL, suggests injury wasn’t the Jays’ reason for DFA’ing him.

Nevertheless, the KC Royals will be rejoiced to add a potential sturdy arm to the bullpen.

Joel Payamps will offer a decent pitch arsenal in relief for the KC Royals.

Along with his great stat lines, Payamps offers a good pitch arsenal. According to BaseballSavant, he has a four-seam fastball, slider, changeup, and sinker;  he’s thrown his fastball 38.4% of the time, topping out at 94.7 mph with a spin rate of 2,408. The four-seamer has also surrendered a miniscule .161 OBA and a 29.7 whiff rate. He’s tossed his slider 27.4% of the time this season with a .184 OBA and 2,542 spin rate. He hasn’t given up a hit with his change, which he’s thrown 10.6% of the time. He’s only struggled with his sinker (.333 OBA).

His barrel rate has decreased from 18.2% in 2019 and 25% in 2020 to a mere 5.9% in 30 innings with Toronto. This ranks him in the 75th percentile, which suggests he gets opponents to whiff a lot.

Will new acquisition Joel Payamps stay with the KC Royals’ organization?

Payamps, 27, has traveled back and forth between the majors and minors throughout his career, and has been claimed off waivers several times. He started out with the Rockies, signing as an international free agent in 2011; he was released in 2015 and signed with Arizona later that year.

He worked over three seasons on Arizona’s minor league clubs before he was finally promoted to the majors in 2019. Payamps appeared in only four big league innings that season and posted a 4.50 ERA. In 2020, he pitched three innings for Arizona and was DFA’d.

He was claimed off waivers by Boston but was DFA’d before the season even began when the Red Sox acquired Garrett Richards from the Padres. He was claimed on and off waivers between the Blue Jays and Red Sox up until March 6, when Toronto decided to hold onto him.

And after 22 appearances, Payamps was, once again, designated for assignment before the Royals acquired him.

Needless to say, Payamps has had a roller-coaster of a career so far. Going by his recent numbers, though, that ride could very well end soon as long as he continues his dominating performance in Kansas City if he’s called up.

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Joel Payamps was acquired from Toronto in exchange for cash considerations. He could make a home in Kansas City and provide some additional bullpen help.