Royals Give Up on Rule 5 Draft Pick in Surprise Move

Matt Sauer had a 7.71 ERA for the Royals this season
Matt Sauer had a 7.71 ERA for the Royals this season / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals have made it clear from the first week of the season that they intend to compete this year, and they've made another move pointing to their desire to win by designating RHP Matt Sauer for assignment on Monday.

Sauer was taken in the 2023 Rule 5 Draft and will now be offered back to the Yankees for $50,000 if he clears waivers. He had a 7.71 ERA in 14 appearances with the Royals, sticking out as a weak link for a bullpen that has a collective 4.08 ERA (17th in MLB).

In a corresponding move, Kansas City brought LHP Sam Long to the majors.

Royals News: KC Designates RHP Matt Sauer for Assignment

Things unraveled quickly for Sauer after a promising start to the campaign. He didn't allow an earned run in each of his first four starts, then struggled with his command in April and walked nine batters in 10.2 innings.

In May, Sauer surrendered 13 hits and 11 runs in five innings, including giving up five runs to the lowly Athletics over the weekend series. Sam Long hasn't appeared in a MLB game yet this year but had a 5.60 ERA with Oakland in 2023.

There's reason to be optimistic about Long's potential though. He had a 3.61 ERA with the Giants in 2022, striking out 33 batters in 42.1 innings. Long has been fantastic at AAA this year, notching a 1.31 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 20.2 innings. Adding a left-handed pitcher helps matters too, giving Matt Quatraro more options game by game.

Just like Quatraro didn't waste time in giving James McArthur the closer job after Will Smith struggled, the Royals acted swiftly once Sauer turned sour. It's an impressive mindset from the organization and bodes well for a sustained run this summer.

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