The Royals announced Monday that lefty Foster Griffin has been designated for assignment. His spot on the active roster will go to lefty Daniel Lynch, who has been reinstated from the injured list. Griffin’s spot on the 40-man roster will go to newly acquired outfield prospect Drew Waters, as the Royals announced that Waters has been selected to the 40-man roster and optioned to Triple-A Omaha.
Kansas City has also recalled lefty Angel Zerpa from Double-A Northwest Arkansas and appointed him as the 27th man for today’s doubleheader. Minor league right-hander Andrew Hoffmann and third baseman CJ Alexander, also acquired from the Braves in the Waters trade, were assigned to Double-A as well.
Griffin, 26, was the No. 28 selection of the 2014 draft but has only appeared in two big league seasons with the Royals with a total of six MLB frames pitched. For years, Griffin was generally ranked among the Royals’ more promising farmhands, although his year-to-year rankings fluctuated greatly. At his best, he looked the part of a potential third or fourth starter, staying healthy and soaking up innings in the upper minors even as his performance endured some wild swings from one season to the next.
However, Griffin suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow early in the 2020 season, and the subsequent Tommy John surgery wiped out the remainder of that season and all of the 2021 campaign. The Royals removed him from the 40-man roster at one point but re-signed him to a minor league deal and selected him to the MLB roster earlier this season.
Now working exclusively as a reliever, Griffin has been excellent in Triple-A, where he sports a 1.93 ERA and a 32-to-6 K/BB. Griffin has punched out 29.4% of his Triple-A opponents against just a 5.5% walk rate — all while showing off a huge 55.9% ground-ball rate. Between his first-round pedigree, the impressive bullpen showing in Triple-A and the fact that Griffin has all three minor league option years remaining, it’s possible that another team will have interest — be it via waivers or a small trade. There’s no sugarcoating the seven runs (six earned) Griffin yielded in just 4 1/3 MLB innings this season, but he’s averaging 93.9 mph on his heater, and teams are always on the lookout for left-handed bullpen help.
The Royals will have a week to trade Griffin, attempt to pass him through outright waivers or release him.