The sounds of baseball returned to the air today, and they sounded sweet, indeed. MLB Network carried on in the background as I typed away at a nearly frenetic pace for hours. Harold Reynolds is loudly giggling about something, just loving the fact that baseball is back and here to stay for months. Baseball analysts everywhere let the gears begin to turn, like they’re allowing a dormant part of their minds to reactivate after a long and cruel delay.
Only in baseball could a team lose their first game of the season and still induce such delusions of hope. Despite all this optimism, plenty of problems quickly made themselves apparent during the Kansas City Royals‘ defeat in today’s season opener. One of the most glaring, and the most infuriating, is Wade Davis‘ shakiness in his new role.
After raving success in the bullpen last year, KC was looking forward to Luke Hochevar‘s contribution this season. After going down for the entirety of 2014 due to Tommy John surgery, Davis was slated to fill his shoes. Wade ran into problems today, allowing two runs to score and the Detroit Tigers to tie the game. Davis looked apprehensive all day and nibbled at the edges of the zone, only to fall behind to batters and pay the price for it.
After stumbling through last year in varying roles, Davis is only continuing a pattern of failure. He posted a 5.32 ERA in 2013 as a starter and a reliever. Basically everyone in KC’s bullpen at this point is more suited to fill the role of setup man, but none of them are getting paid as much as Davis. That puts the Royals in a tough spot and places Davis directly on the hot seat until he can prove himself coming out of the pen.
Without any more signs of potential future success, Davis could be paid $4.8 million this year exclusively for mop-up duty.