The Royals acquired left-hander Tucker Davidson from the Angels in exchange for cash, the teams announced. Davidson, whom the Angels designated for assignment over the weekend, will be added directly to Kansas City’s big league roster. He’s out of minor league options.
Davidson, 27, was long one of the more promising farmhands in the Braves’ farm system and made his way to the Rangers by way of last summer’s Raisel Iglesias trade. That swap was more about the Angels shedding Iglesias’ salary than it was about adding either Davidson or veteran Jesse Chavez — also in the trade — but the organization had surely hoped to get Davidson back on track after a rough year in Triple-A.
Things haven’t played out that way, however. Davidson made eight starts with the Angels following the trade last year but struggled to a 6.87 ERA in 36 2/3 innings. A move to the bullpen this season didn’t bring about meaningful improvement; in 31 2/3 innings across 18 relief appearances, the lefty has a 6.54 ERA with a 20.9% strikeout rate and 7.4% walk rate. A .412 average on balls in play points to some bad luck, but Davidson has also seen his average fastball dip from 93.1 mph to 91.6 mph — despite the fact that he’s now been working in short relief stints.
Davidson provides the Royals with some nearly free depth on the pitching side of things at a time when the rest of their once-touted young arms have seen their development stall. None of Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch, Jackson Kowar, Kris Bubic, Asa Lacy or the other college arms on which Kansas City’s rebuild has been riding have established themselves as consistent big league starters. The Royals recently bought low on lefty Taylor Hearn in a deal with the Braves and will add Davidson to their pile of once highly regarded arms. It’s not clear whether they’ll use him in relief or in the rotation, but the Royals’ pitching staff could use help in both areas.