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Royals sign reliever Brad Brach to a minor league contract

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The Royals bring in some veteran depth to the pen.

New York Mets v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The Royals have signed 34-year old right-handed reliever Brad Brach to a minor league deal. Brach is a ten-year veteran with the Padres, Orioles, Braves, Cubs, and Mets, making 496 relief appearances with a 3.39 ERA.

Brach made his name with the Orioles - facing off against the Royals in the 2014 ALCS. He was an All-Star and 2.4 WAR pitcher in 2016, his best season. He briefly earned a closer role in 2017 and picked up 30 saves over 2017 and 2018. He bounced around after the Orioles traded him in 2018, pitching last year with the Mets where he had a 5.84 ERA with 14 strikeouts and 14 walks in 12 13 innings. In 2019, he had a 5.47 ERA but a 3.73 FIP with the Cubs and Mets in 54 13 innings.

Brach generally throws in the low 90s, although he had a sharp decline in velocity last year, averaging just 90.4 mph on his fastball. He can miss bats, but has always had some trouble with walks, particularly last year. His out pitch is a change up that was one of the best in the league at his peak. He delivers from a lower arm slot, and falls off the right side of the mound, creating different angles for the hitter.

The Mets released Brach last week to make room for free agent infielder Jonathan Villar. New York will pay most of Brach’s $2.075 million salary this year, meaning the Royals will only have to pay him the league minimum if he makes the team. Brach joins Wade Davis and Ervin Santana as non-roster veterans trying to win spots in the bullpen.