The Royals have signed right-handed pitcher Taylor Clarke to a one-year, $975,000 contract according to MLB Network reporter Jon Heyman. Clarke was non-tendered by Arizona earlier this week. He would not be eligible for six-year free agency until at least 2026.
The 28-year old right-hander pitched in 43 games for the Diamondbacks this year with a 4.98 ERA and 3.54 FIP and 39 strikeouts in 43 1⁄3 innings. He missed nearly two months with a shoulder injury. Clarke has pitched in parts of three big league seasons with a 4.99 ERA and 7.7 strikeouts-per-nine innings in 171 1⁄3 innings. The Virginia native was originally a third-round pick by the Diamondbacks in 2015 out of the College of Charleston.
Clarke throws in the mid-90s, averaging 95 mph on his fastball, up a tick this past season. The slider is his out pitch and he throws a cutter and change up as well. Back in 2019, Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel at Fanagraphs wrote:
Clarke has a four-pitch mix that plays in part because of big extension. He has feel for locating his cutter (glove side) and change (arm side) better than he does for his other pitches, but his fastball sneaks up on hitters because of the extension, so Clarke has command margin for error in the strike zone.
Ooh. Interesting. 3.54 FIP out of the bullpen for Arizona last year. Really cut down on the walks and HR from 2021.— Royals Farm Report (@RoyalsFarm) December 2, 2021
Has a funny prospect report on FG:
Overall- 40 FV
Clarke was teammates with Brad Keller in the Diamondbacks organization in 2017. He has one more option year left and will likely compete in a fairly wide open bullpen in which Josh Staumont and Scott Barlow should be the only locks as of right now.
8:42 p.m. update: Deal is official.