Atlanta Braves Acquire Hard-throwing Lefty Reliever Richard Lovelady
By Fred Owens
Covid Year and UCL Surgery
Lovelady was at the Royals’ backup training camp in 2020 and made one appearance in the Majors. He started 2021 in AAA, earning a call-up to Kansas City in June.
He appeared in 20 games for KC, throwing 20 2/3 innings, striking out 23, and walking six while pitching to a 3.48 ERA and 1.065 WHIP before tearing his UCL in September. He returned to the minors a year later, throwing four scoreless innings and striking out nine of 15 batters faced. The video below is from an appearance in August 2021.
Lovelady was in Major League camp this spring, throwing eight shutout innings in eight games and striking out 10 of 33 batters faced, but the Royals optioned him to AAA last Saturday.
Why Trade a Power Arm?
Lovelady was unhappy about being sent to AAA and tweeted about it. He quickly deleted the tweet, but the Royals had other plans for their bullpen and a disappointed pitcher on their hands.
The Royals could have ignored the player’s recanted Tweet and kept him, but I believe they still liked him and understood why he felt as he did. Their team is rebuilding; Lovelady isn’t old – he turns 28 in July – but likely misses the Royals’ next window to win.
Trading him to a contending team for cash gives Lovelady a new start and the opportunity to play his way onto a Major League Roster.