Free agency and the trade market don't open until the day after Texas and Arizona wrap up the World Series, but the KC Royals continued to tinker with their roster Thursday.
Just a day after removing two players from 40-man roster consideration — pitcher Tucker Davidson joined the Orioles on a waiver claim and Tyler Cropley was outrighted to Triple-A Omaha — the club did the same with another hurler and an outfielder Thursday.
Relief pitcher Taylor Hearn is searching for work
The Royals outrighted Taylor Hearn, the lefthanded reliever they acquired from Atlanta when they dealt Nicky Lopez to the Braves at the midsummer trade deadline. But unlike Cropley, who the club outrighted Wednesday, Hearn exercised his right to reject the assignment and is now a free agent eligible to sign with any of the other 29 big league teams.
Hearn was unimpressive in the eight games he appeared in for the Royals. Opponents battered him for seven runs and 12 hits in 7.2 innings (8.22 ERA, 1.826 WHIP), which his eight strikeouts weren't enough to overcome. And although his 12-game, 2.45 Omaha ERA (he was initially assigned to the Storm Chasers after the trade) looked better on its face, he allowed four of the seven runs he inherited to score.
He has a pedestrian 12-15 record over parts of five big league seasons, but his 5.35 career ERA could complicate his job search.
Outfielder Bubba Thompson is headed for Cincinnati
Bubba Thompson's short time in the Kansas City organization — the Royals grabbed him from Texas with a mid-August waiver claim — ended when the Reds picked him up on waivers Thursday. Thompson, a speedy outfielder who's stolen 150 bases in six minor league seasons, including 49 at Triple-A Round Rock in 2022, hit .259 with four home runs, 17 RBIs and 11 steals in the 33 post-claim games he played for Omaha.
A serviceable minor league hitter with a .268 career average, but a less effective .242 average in 92 big league games, his departure is probably due, at least in part, to the Royals' crowded outfield situation.