The Kansas City Royals have restocked their bullpen in a hurry, signing both Travis Wood and Seth Maness earlier today.
Up until a few weeks ago, it had been a relatively quiet offseason for the Kansas City Royals. In fact, it had been more notable for who had left as opposed to who the Royals brought back. Wade Davis, one of the more dominant closers in the game when healthy, and sparkplug Jarrod Dyson had been traded elsewhere. Yes, Danny Duffy was signed to a long term extension, but that appeared to be with an eye towards the future.
However, Kansas City has been on quite the spending spree lately. Brandon Moss was brought in on a two year deal. Then, following the tragic loss of Yordano Ventura, the Royals secured Jason Hammel, again on a two year contract. Today, they continued their spending, revamping their bullpen by signing Travis Wood and Seth Maness.
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Both pitchers are interesting moves, although for different reasons. Maness is coming back from an alternative to Tommy John surgery, and had a showcase just over seven months after the procedure. If he is healthy, and able to contribute immediately, this procedure could be viewed upon as a viable option, depending on the location of the ligament injury. Given the potential concerns about his health, the Royals gave Maness a minor league contract, worth up to $2 Million if he makes the Major League roster.
When healthy, Maness has been a solid middle reliever. While not a strikeout pitcher, Maness has been able to rely on a ground ball rate approaching 60% and pinpoint control to get opponents out. Overall, in his four year career, Maness has a 3.19 ERA and a 1.256 WHiP, striking out 152 batters against 45 walks in 237.1 innings.
Wood, meanwhile, had been one of the more desired relievers over the past few weeks. Signed to a two year deal worth $12 Million, Wood will be given a chance to make the Royals rotation. However, it appears as though he has found his niche in the bullpen. Wood has a career 4.19 ERA and a 1.293 WHiP as a starter, striking out 611 batters against 272 walks in 776 innings. Meanwhile, in the bullpen, Wood has posted a 2.83 ERA and a 1.145 WHiP, striking out 125 batters against 52 walks in 124 innings.
These moves will likely end what has been a very unique offseason in Kansas City. For quite some time, it appeared as though the Royals front office considered their window of opportunity as having closed, making moves with an eye to contending at the beginning of the next decade. The moves of the past few weeks, however, may have extended that window of opportunity for at least two more years.