What exactly are the Kansas City Royals doing? The organization opted to designate pitcher Chris Ellis for assignment in order to make room for starting pitcher Homer Bailey.
This move is puzzling for a few reasons. The biggest one is that the Kansas City Royals have plenty of other players who could have been designated for assignment or optioned to the minor leagues.
Instead, the Royals went with the odd route and designated Rule-5 pitcher Chris Ellis for assignment. This means that Ellis will go back to the Cardinals unless he’s claimed off waivers (at least according to MLB Trade Rumors). Ellis appeared in one inning in the Royals’ first four games and it was a scoreless inning for the 26-year old.
Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors somewhat mocked the Royals for this move, even though it wasn’t a highly significant one. Todd wrote,
"It’s a bit odd that the organization couldn’t find room for Ellis on a roster that includes several low-upside veteran pitchers and a bizarre bench mix featuring two first basemen/designated hitters (Lucas Duda and Frank Schwindel, who supplement Ryan O’Hearn and Jorge Soler) and an outfielder who’s known almost exclusively as a pinch runner and defensive replacement (Terrance Gore)."
Everything stated in the quoted paragraph is hard to argue against. The Royals had plenty of option-able relievers and they still could have kept Chris Ellis in their bullpen. Better yet – Why is Lucas Duda still on the team? This wasn’t a necessary signing at the time and he’s not adding anything, even off the bench.
What’s funnier about this move is that the Royals stuck with Burch Smith all last season and he was also a Rule-5 guy. Burch Smith was TERRIBLE yet Dayton Moore kept him on the roster all throughout 2018. Chris Ellis might not be a star, but at least his MLB debut was a scoreless inning!
Anyway, Homer Bailey is the reason this whole ordeal happened. Bailey is hoping to jumpstart his career with the Royals and took the mound during the day game on Wednesday. I’m not angry about making room for Bailey, as he could be a serviceable starter in the rotation.
My confusion, and probably a lot of fans’, is why Ellis had to be the one to go. Send Duda packing. Option (or DFA) Gore. Option Schwindel to the minors and bring him up again later. There were plenty of other moves that would have made more sense than parting ways with a Rule-5 guy that the team clearly saw potential in.
Another weird move by the team came on Tuesday when the Royals traded for catcher Andrew Susac in exchange for cash considerations. It’s no secret that the catcher position is an interesting one for the Royals this year, as Salvador Perez is on the shelf for the entire season, but Martin Maldonado is doing just fine.
Cam Gallagher is the backup and while he’s not going to be a star, he’s fine in a backup role. Perhaps the Royals are planning to demote Gallagher to the minors to give him some meaningful playing time and have Susac be the backup. That’d be a very Royals thing to do after all. Hopefully Susac is just minor league depth and doesn’t block Gallagher anymore than the poor guy has been throughout his career already.
What do you think, Royals fans? Were these decisions as annoying to you as they were to me?