Little mystery preceded the KC Royals’ approach to last month’s major league trade deadline. A bad May and even worse June made the Royals sellers as the July 30 deadline drew near. No one knew what the club might do, but expectations were generally low. Whit Merrifield promised to bring the best return, but the notion of trading him so exceeded Kansas City’s norms that a deal involving him became implausible no matter how much sense it made.
Almost as unrealistic was a Danny Duffy trade, but not because his status as a “10 & 5” player made any and all trades subject to his express approval. Instead, it was his twice-injured left flexor and presence on the Injured List that seemed to push Duffy off the market.
And the chances of anyone having serious interest in slumping Jorge Soler defied baseball logic, especially because nothing but his power potential made him particularly attractive, and he entered deadline week with only nine home runs and a .185 average.
Baseball, though, is unpredictable, and the Royals somehow managed to surprise. They didn’t trade Merrifield, but they found takers for Soler and Duffy and acquired a couple of new relief pitchers.
Now, a full two weeks after the 2021 trade deadline expired, how are the players involved in the Royals’ moves doing?
First move: The KC Royals acquire reliever Joel Payamps from Tampa.
Kansas City General Manager Dayton Moore proved nine days before the deadline that his usual conservative approach to most personnel matters doesn’t mean he won’t consider and make out-of-the-blue moves. He pulled the trigger on such a transaction July 21 when he sent cash considerations to Toronto for reliever Joel Payamps, whose name probably didn’t ring many bells in Royals’ fandom.
Those with good memories, though, will recall Payamps pitching twice against KC in April. He threw a pair of scoreless innings against the Royals April 15, but Salvador Perez turned the tables on him two days later by tagging him for a winning walk-off home run.
Payamps posted a 22-game 2.70 ERA for the Jays before they sent him to Triple-A Buffalo in June and then DFA’d him a few days before trading him to Kansas City. The Royals dispatched him to Triple-A Omaha where he’s 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA and 14 strikeouts in eight innings.
The Royals called him up August 10 but optioned him back to the Storm Chasers the next day. He didn’t see any action; whether he gets another chance this season remains to be seen.