The Royals have signed right-handed reliever Justin Grimm to a one-year contract, per a club announcement Sunday morning. Grimm’s contract will pay him $1.25 million plus up to $300,000 in performance bonuses, according to The Athletic’s Rustin Dodd.
Grimm, 29, was released by the Cubs earlier this week after posting a 9.00 ERA and a 2.50 WHIP over four Cactus League games. He threw one inning in each appearance and was unscored on in just one of those outings. Though he had spent parts of the last five seasons pitching in relief for the Cubs, he was out of options this spring, and they determined that he didn’t fit in a bullpen that figures to have a new look this year. Chicago was able to avoid paying Grimm his entire 2018 salary by releasing him when they did, though they still owe him approximately a fourth of that $2.2 million figure.
Grimm has struggled somewhat over the past two seasons, posting a combined 4.83 ERA over 108 innings with 10.33 strikeouts, 4.17 walks, and 1.42 home runs allowed per nine. But if he can rediscover the form he displayed in 2015, when he posted a 1.99 ERA and 1.15 WHIP with 67 strikeouts and 26 walks over 62 appearances (49.2 innings), he could be a real weapon out of the Royals’ bullpen.
He’ll join a Kansas City relief corps that now figures to be a rather experienced group again despite losing key relievers Mike Minor, Scott Alexander, Ryan Buchter, and Peter Moylan this offseason. 10-year veteran Blaine Boyer is in camp and appears likely to make the club, joining offseason free-agent addition Wily Peralta and returnees Kevin McCarthy, Brandon Maurer, and Kelvin Herrera as big-league veterans in the ‘pen. With Grimm added to the mix, that likely leaves out-of-options lefty Brian Flynn and Rule 5 picks Brad Keller and Burch Smith battling for the final one or two spots in the bullpen.
To make room for Grimm on the Royals’ 40-man roster, right-hander Sam Gaviglio was designated for assignment.