Excitement over landing a star pitcher didn’t last long for the KC Royals.
If you’ve been a baseball fan long enough, you’ll remember the days when it seemed Storm Davis could beat anyone. By the time he came to the Royals in 1990 on a deal small by today’s standards, but big then—$6 million for three years—Davis had won 92 games since breaking in with Baltimore in 1982, including 37 for the Orioles from 1983-85 and 35 for Oakland from 1988-89. And he had postseason experience, something the Royals relished after missing the playoffs four straight times.
But coming from great baseball stock—he counted Baltimore greats Jim Palmer, Dennis Martinez, Scott McGregor, Mike Boddicker and Dennis Martinez among his colleagues during six Oriole seasons—and having almost 100 victories didn’t assure success with the Royals after he left the A’s for free agency.
And continued good fortune Davis didn’t find in Kansas City. He won only seven games and lost 10 in 1990 and was 3-9 in ’91; perhaps not coincidentally, the Royals finished next-to-last in the American League West both seasons. Not desirous of a third season with Davis, they shipped him to the Orioles before the calendar turned to 1992.
The $6 million pact Davis signed wouldn’t turn any heads today. But $6 million was a lot of money then, and turned out to be ill-spent.
Several pitchers’ contracts have backfired on Kansas City. Danny Duffy’s, Storm Davis’, Ian Kennedy’s, and Mark Davis’ are among them.