The Royals have claimed right-hander Ben Lively off waivers from the Phillies, according to an announcement from both teams. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Royals have designated left-hander Eric Stout for assignment.
Lively, 26, will give the Royals yet another arm to evaluate as they stockpile potential rotation pieces for the 2019 season and beyond. The right-hander, originally acquired by the Phils in the 2014 trade that sent Marlon Byrd to the Reds, has a minor league option remaining beyond the current season, so the Royals will be able to shuttle him back and forth between Omaha and the Majors next year — in the event that Lively survives the offseason on Kansas City’s 40-man roster.
It’s been a tough season for Lively, who has missed time with a shoulder injury. He’s been hit hard to the tune of a 6.85 ERA in a tiny sample of 23 2/3 Major League innings this season, though his Triple-A work — 2.42 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 0.52 HR/9, 42.3 percent ground-ball rate in 52 innings — has been decidedly more encouraging. Lively ranked in the bottom half of the Phillies’ top 30 prospects in 2016-17, per Baseball America, drawing praise as a potential fifth starter at the big league level with average to fringe-average stuff across the board.
Lively has a 2.97 ERA in 266 2/3 career innings of Triple-A work, making him a more or less MLB-ready asset on which the Royals are taking a chance. He also turned in a 4.26 ERA with less-encouraging peripheral marks through 88 2/3 innings with the Phils last season. The move to the American League probably won’t help Lively much, though he’s going from a homer-friendly home setting, Citizens Bank Park, to a fairly cavernous one in Kauffman Stadium.
Stout, 25, was beat up for seven runs (six earned) in just 2 1/3 innings with the Royals earlier this season. Though he posted solid bottom-line numbers at Triple-A in 2017, his pedestrian K/BB numbers, low ground-ball rate and good fortune on homers allowed contributed to an FIP (4.24) and xFIP (5.26) that were markedly higher than last season’s 2.99 ERA. Through 55 Triple-A frames in 2018, he has indeed regressed, working to a 4.75 ERA with 7.2 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 0.82 HR/9 and a 37.8 percent grounder rate. Lefties have posted a .725 OPS against Stout between the Majors and Minors this season, though to his credit, he held same-handed opponents to a putrid .193/.264/.301 slash with a 22.5 percent strikeout rate against a 7.5 percent walk rate in Omaha a year ago.
I’m not sure why the orioles passed up. We have a number of pitchers who could be designated here. Still not sure what we see in Mike Wright.
Did the entire NL pass or is it just reverse order for outright waivers?
With the injury to Duffy he can pretty much slide right into the rotation and have a chance to prove himself. The royals hope he will be a lively addition.
Agree with the sentiment, but BOOOOO for the pun.
Plenty of room in Kansas city for rotation pieces. No one should have a spot next year. Duffy might be still around, who knows.
Keller and Junis will definitely have a spot.
2 names that should be at the end of your rotation not guaranteed a spot. The royals need to find some top end starters. Hopefully they can hit on Singer and Kowar. I know I’m a big fan of Kowar and what he brings to the table. Still going to be a minute before we see them though.
I remember getting to see Lively during Reds spring training in ’14 I think it was.. he was very impressive, good movement on his pitches, he struck out 2 of 4 batters faced iirc, I came away thinking he was going to develop into a solid 200 IP, 150-200 K, 3.50-4.00 ERA. I remember thinking WTF when they traded him for Byrd. Hope he finds his groove and gets another shot, good luck!!