The Royals and left-hander Troy Patton agreed to a Minor League contract the day before the season began, reports Matt Eddy of Baseball America (Twitter link). Patton won’t be available to begin the season, as he was hit with an 80-game suspension in November after testing positive for amphetamines. Patton had previously served a 25-game suspension for the same reason — Adderall usage without a therapeutic use exemption.
Suspensions aside, Patton was a largely serviceable reliever from 2011-13 with the Orioles, working to a 3.05 ERA with 7.2 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and a 45.8 percent ground-ball rate. Baltimore flipped Patton to the Padres in exchange for catcher Nick Hundley last year, however, and he struggled in a small, 14-inning sample of work between the two clubs, yielding eight runs on 16 hits (two homers) and five walks. Overall, Patton sports an aesthetically pleasing 3.25 ERA and has held lefties to a weak batting line of just .243/.284/.349. FIP and xFIP both feel his ERA should be closer to 3.90, while SIERA pegs him at 3.51.
At 29 years of age, Patton still has some relative youth on his side, and he’ll provide the Royals with some depth at an area of need once his suspension is complete. Kansas City lost left-handed reliever Tim Collins for the season due to Tommy John surgery, so Patton could conceivably work his way into a bullpen role later in the year. And, with 4.138 years of big league service, he could be controlled via arbitration on the perhaps unlikely chance that he emerges as a viable contributor.