On Thursday the Kansas City Royals traded away relief pitchers Jeremy Jeffress and Tommy Hotovy in separate deals. Both had been designated for assignment the previous week after spending most of 2012 at AAA Omaha.
Jeffress was one of the players acquired by the Royals in the Zack Greinke deal before 2011. He had several short stints with the major league club and showed excellent raw skill, but he could never reliably locate his pitches. He was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for cash considerations. It’s a bit disappointing for the Royals to effectively get nothing from him as he was part of such a high-profile trade two years ago, but this is not a major loss for the Royals as evidenced by how easily they gave him away. It will likely be a year or more before he learns to harness his stuff and the Royals’ bullpen is simply burgeoning with young talent at the moment. They have no need to wait on Jeffress to develop when they can sell him and have that much more money to spend on a free agent.
Hottovy is in a similar situation, but had rather more success in his one season with the Royals’ organisation. He came up to the big leagues for a handful of short stints during the Royals injury crises in the early season, but mostly pitched in AAA where he put up some very good numbers. He is heading to the Texas Rangers for not only more cash for the Royals, but also a player to be named later. Although his circumstances were similar to that of Jeffress, I am a bit more disappointed to see him go. I think Hottovy was a lot closer to the big league level than Jefress was and he provided good injury cover and someone to come into the bullpen if the Royals wanted to convert someone to a starter. But even with that in mind it certainly is not a disastrous or unreasonable move.