The Royals announced that they’ve claimed right-hander Conner Greene off waivers from the Cardinals. He’d been designated for assignment last week. In order to open a spot on the 40-man roster, Kansas City designated righty Burch Smith for assignment.
Greene, 23, was acquired alongside Dominic Leone in last offseason’s Randal Grichuk trade. The former seventh-round pick’s longstanding control issues didn’t improve in his lone season with the Cards, as Greene walked 63 batters in 88 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. He hasn’t had much success in the minors since the 2016 season, but the Royals will hope that another change of scenery brings about more favorable results in 2019.
The 28-year-old Smith was one of two Rule 5 picks carried on the roster by the Royals for the entire 2018 season, but his results paled in comparison to those of fellow Rule 5-er Brad Keller. In 78 innings, Smith limped to a 6.92 ERA, and while he averaged nearly a strikeout per inning, he also averaged 4.6 walks per nine innings pitched. Smith’s ability to miss bats has long been intriguing, but his career has been slowed by control issues and injury troubles — most notably Tommy John surgery.