The Royals officially added starting pitcher Homer Bailey to the roster before his scheduled start this Wednesday afternoon against the Minnesota Twins. To make room on the 25-man roster, the Royals have designated pitcher Chris Ellis for assignment. Ellis was originally acquired by the Royals at the Rule 5 draft, where he was selected by the Texas Rangers from the St. Louis Cardinals. The Rangers traded him to the Royals for cash considerations.
The 26-year old Ellis pitched in the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the White Sox, tossing a shutout inning with one walk. He didn’t fare well in spring training, but did make the Major League roster with the hope the Royals could find another Rule 5 gem like they did last year with Brad Keller. By designating him for assignment, Ellis is exposed to waivers, and if he clears waivers he must be offered back to the Cardinals.
The move is a bit curious since the Royals have been about keeping “inventory”, and this will almost certainly mean they lose Ellis after seeing him face all of four Major League hitters. The Royals had other options, such as sending first baseman Frank Schwindel or pitcher Scott Barlow down, since both have an option year.
Homer Bailey will make his Royals debut this afternoon after 12 years with the Reds. He was a 4.1 WAR pitcher in Cincinnati with a 4.56 ERA. His best season came in 2013 when he was a 3 WAR pitcher, but he has struggled since then, undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2015. Bailey is in the middle of a six-year, $105 million contract that is being paid for by the Reds and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Royals will pay him just the league minimum.