The Royals activated right-hander Joel Payamps from the COVID-related injury list today. In the corresponding move, Kansas City outrighted right-hander Daniel Mengden off the 40-man roster and assigned him to Triple-A.
Payamps was placed on the COVID list on June 13, and he returned to the field last week to make a trio of Triple-A outings as part of a rehab assignment. Despite below-average strikeout and walk rates, Payamps has a 2.42 ERA over 26 relief innings for K.C. this season, relying on a 53.7% grounder rate, a lack of hard contact, and zero homers allowed. The righty used a pretty similar recipe for success in 2021, as Payamps posted a 3.40 ERA over 50 1/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Royals in his first full MLB season.
Payamps is only 28 years old but he has 11 years of pro experience, including time in the majors in each of the last four seasons. While not a premium bullpen arm, his numbers could get him some looks from other teams heading into the trade deadline, as the Royals are already known to be open to offers on veteran players.
Mengden signed a minor league deal with Kansas City in March, and in fact got his contract selected to the Show when Payamps was first placed on the COVID-IL. Mengden appeared in four games with the Royals, posting a 2.08 ERA over 4 1/3 innings — this marked his first MLB action since 2020, as Mengden pitched in South Korea last season.
Though the Royals have only deployed Mengden as a reliever to date, he has started 11 of his 12 games for Triple-A Omaha, and has worked as a starter for the bulk of his career in the majors, minors, and the KBO League. Mengden had some solid numbers pitching for the A’s in 2017-18 before control problems hampered him in 2019.