In the first of two deals announced by the club on Friday, the Kansas City Royals added to their bullpen by acquiring reliever Nick Anderson from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for cash.
Anderson posted a 3.03 ERA in 35 appearances with the Braves. He allowed 12 earned runs and struck out 36 batters in 35 1/3 innings last season.
Later Friday, the Royals announced that they’d traded right-handed pitcher Jackson Kowar — also to the Braves — in exchange for right-handed pitcher Kyle Wright.
The Royals entered the offseason searching for relief help. Their bullpen had a 5.23 ERA and struggled in high-leverage situations.
Anderson has a strong track record across four MLB seasons. In 2020 he earned first-team All-MLB honors with the Tampa Bay Rays. He allowed one earned run in 19 appearances that year. He also brings World Series experience.
Injuries, however, have affected his last few seasons.
Anderson underwent elbow surgery that sidelined him for the 2022 campaign. He also dealt with plantar fasciitis. In 2023, he missed time with a right shoulder strain.
The Royals hope Anderson can add stability to their bullpen. He has familiarity with Royals manager Matt Quatraro from his time in Tampa Bay. Anderson pitched with the Rays from 2019-22.
In a corresponding move, the Royals designated pitcher Austin Cox for assignment. Cox sustained a season-ending knee injury last season. He posted a 4.54 ERA in 24 games and made three starts.
Cox also set a major-league record in his rookie campaign. He became the first pitcher in the Expansion Era (since 1961) to face 39 batters without allowing a hit to begin his career. The Royals utilized Cox in multiple bullpen roles as he picked up five holds and one save.
This is the second trade between the Royals and Braves this year. The Royals traded infielder Nicky Lopez to Atlanta for Taylor Hearn in July.