The closer market continues to get more interesting by the minute.
As noted, the San Francisco Giants plucked former Pittsburgh Pirates closer Mark Melancon off the market with a record four-year, $62 million contract. Reports have suggested that the Miami Marlins could pursue former Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, to the tune of a five-year, $80 million contract. ESPN’s Marty Rivera also revealed earlier this afternoon that former Chicago Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman is seeking a six-year contract.
Well, it appears that a fourth name can be added to the closer market, as the Kansas City Royals have reportedly made it known that Wade Davis is available in trade talks, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports!
With closer FA market about to roar, one name is buzzing among executives: Wade Davis. He is available and may be likeliest Royal to move.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 5, 2016
Davis, 31, initially started out his career as a starting pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays. He was a part of the blockbuster deal in the December 2012, that saw James Shields head to the Royals in a trade that saw highly-regarded prospect Wil Myers head to Tampa. Davis struggled in his first season with the Royals, as a starter, going 8-11 with a 5.02 ERA, and a career-high 1.67 WHIP in 135.1 innings. 2013 was Davis’ breakout season, as he transitioned to the bullpen. In 72 innings of work, Davis compiled a 9-2 record with an ERA of 1.00. His WHIP dropped dramatically to a 0.847, nearly being cut in half from the previous season. Davis carried his newfound confidence over into the next season, and began to establish himself as one of the most dominant relievers in baseball.
2015 saw him improve on the previous year, going 8-1 with a 0.94 ERA, a 0.78 WHIP, and 17 saves in 67 innings. He finished sixth in Cy Young voting, and earned his first All-Star game nod. The right-hander became vitally important mid-way through the 2015 season, as he took over closing duties for the injured Greg Holland. As it turned out, Davis would lock his jaws on to the job, giving the Royals enough confidence to non-tender Holland last offseason, solidifying Davis’ spot as the anchor in their bullpen. He was put together another All-Star season in 2016, finishing 2-1 with a 1.87 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 27 saves in 43.1 innings pitched.
Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times tweeted out that the Los Angeles Dodgers were “keeping tabs” on both Davis, and teammate Lorenzo Cain. Given the reported interest that Miami has shown in former closer Kenley Jansen, and the lengthy pact that Aroldis Chapman is seeking, it’s understandable that the Dodgers would look to explore other avenues.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network also adds that the Chicago Cubs have expressed interest in Davis. Much like the Dodgers, given the type of deal that Chapman is looking for, it’s easy to see why the Cubs have turned their attention elsewhere. Whether this interest blossoms into anything of significance, that remains to be seen. However, it’s interesting to note that the Cubs are exploring external options to replace Davis. Some have suggested that they could opt to promote from within, perhaps awarding the job to Carl Edwards or Mike Montgomery.
It’s unclear what the Royals would be seeking in return, at this current moment.