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2021 Kansas City Royals: Wade Davis Returns

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The 2021 Kansas City Royals added another bullpen arm by signing veteran Wade Davis to a minor-league deal. Wade Davis was known for coming up through the Rays’ organization then later being acquired by the Royals. While with the Royals, he spent three years with the club and was almost untouchable out of the bullpen. Davis’ deal with the 2021 Kansas City Royals is similar to the Greg Holland deal last offseason. Davis will earn $1.25M if he makes it to the Majors.

2021 Kansas City Royals: What the Pen May Look Like

Currently, the KC bullpen is still very young, however, Greg Holland, Jesse Hahn, and Josh Staumont are a few names who are going to be battling over the closer role when spring training begins next month. After adding Wade Davis, the 2021 Kansas City Royals have options on the table. While one will be the closer, the others will be holding up the back end of the bullpen.

It seems Holland is the frontrunner for this role, as he served as the team’s closer toward the end of 2020.

Look Back at Wade Davis’ Career

Wade Davis was drafted in the third round of the 2004 MLB Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays. While coming up through the minors, Davis was used as a starting pitcher and later made his MLB debut in 2009. In the four seasons he spent in Tampa, he made 64 starts and had an ERA of 3.94. In his final season with the Rays, he was moved to the bullpen.

After being acquired by the Kansas City Royals, Davis struggled in his first season. He made 24 starts and had an ERA of 5.32. In 2014, Davis moved to the bullpen and appeared in 71 games, posting an ERA of 1.00 on the season. Davis helped the 2014 Royals make it to the postseason and make a run as a wild card team.

In 2015, Davis made his first All-Star game. On the season, he had just 17 saves, however, he had a career-low ERA of 0.94. During this season, he helped lead the Kansas City Royals to the World Series and is most famously known for recording the final out of that World Series against the New York Mets.

Since then, Davis went on to play for the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies. His one year in Chicago led to another All-Star appearance and in Colorado, he recorded a career-high 43 saves in 2018. In 2020, Davis had an ERA of over 20.00 and did not find the same spark he had a few seasons ago.

Final Thoughts on Wade Davis Signing

Wade Davis is on a minor-league deal, so he is not guaranteed to make the Opening Day roster for the 2021 Kansas City Royals. Despite this, Davis is the veteran that the Royals bullpen desperately needs to add to a very young bullpen.

Royals manager Mike Matheny has plenty of options in the bullpen now. This signing is similar to the Royals bringing back Greg Holland last offseason on a minor-league deal. Also, it is similar to the signing the club made last year with Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal was a former All-Star and was coming off of one of his worst seasons in 2019. Despite the struggles, Rosenthal was a solid option out of the pen and worked in the Royals’ favor. Kansas City is banking on Wade Davis to do the same.

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Nick Whyman is an editor at Overtime Heroics and has been writing for OTH since January of 2020. Whyman is also a Senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in Broadcasting.