Wade Davis will forever hold a place in the hearts of Kansas City Royals fans. He threw the final pitch to win Game Five of the 2015 World Series, his glove being tossed in the air a memory that will remain in the minds of Royals fans. “Wader, check please” became a catch phrase whenever Davis closed out a game as he was expected to dominate every time out.
On Wednesday, Davis closed one last time. He has announced his retirement, ending a career that seemed unlikely years ago.
Kansas City Royals reliever Wade Davis retires
Davis had been a highly regarded prospect as he came up through the Rays system. While he never lived up to expectations as a starter in his first three seasons with Tampa Bay, he was a solid middle to back of the rotation arm.
He broke out in 2012. Davis showed the potential to be a dominant reliever as he moved to the bullpen, his strikeout rate drastically increasing as his ERA dropped. After that season, he was part of a blockbuster deal where he and James Shields were sent to the Royals for a package of prospects, including Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi.
The Royals gave Davis one last chance to start in 2013. He was unable to prove that he belonged in the rotation, posting a 5.32 ERA and a 1.677 WHiP in his 135.1 innings. That led to a permanent move to the bullpen.
That move paid instant dividends. Davis became one of the best relievers in the game almost overnight, eventually taking over as the Royals’ closer when Greg Holland required Tommy John surgery. From 2014 through 2016, Davis posted an incredible 1.18 ERA and a 0.892 WHiP over his 182.2 innings, striking out 234 batters with 59 walks.
He was traded to the Cubs during the 2016-17 offseason as the Royals began their current rebuilding process. After another All Star season, Davis signed a three year, $52 million contract with the Rockies, parlaying his success into an impressive payday.
Success would not follow. While Davis did lead the National League with 43 saves in his first year with the Rockies, he began to struggle, eventually losing the closer role. He finished that three year deal having posted a 6.49 ERA and a 1.433 WHiP over his 112.1 innings, striking out 123 batters with 58 walks.
Davis returned to the Royals on a minor league contract, earning a job in the bullpen in spring training. He was unable to find that former magic as he just did not have anything left. However, he was able to throw his final pitch for the franchise that he is remembered for, retiring as a member of the Royals.
Kansas City Royals reliever Wade Davis has announced his retirement. His three year run of dominance will never be forgotten in Kansas City.