Royals sign left-handed pitcher Ryan Yarbrough to one-year deal

December 14th, 2022

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—The Kansas City Royals announced today that they have signed left-handed pitcher Ryan Yarbrough to a one-year deal. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Royals designated right-handed pitcher Wyatt Mills for assignment.

Yarbrough (YAHR-bro), 30, pitched the first five seasons of his Major League career with the Tampa Bay Rays, where he went 40-31 with a 4.33 ERA (279 ER in 579.2 IP) in 127 appearances (59 starts). 

He made the Rays Opening Day roster for the fifth straight season in 2022 but was limited to 20 appearances (9 starts) due to two stints on the Injured List from April 8-May 2 (left groin tightness) and from Sept. 23 through season’s end (right oblique strain). Over his last two stints with the Rays from July 16 through the end of the season, Yarbrough recorded a 3.52 ERA (18 ER in 46.0 IP) over 12 appearances (3 starts). He held opponents to 2 runs or fewer in 6 of his last 7 outings, including 4 scoreless appearances, and won 3 of his last 4 decisions after beginning the season 0-7. 

Yarbrough won a career-best 16 games as a rookie in 2018, when he finished 5th in the American League Rookie of the Year ballot. Since his debut season, his 2.03 BB/9 is tied with Nathan Eovaldi for the 3rd-best mark in the American League (min. 500.0 IP), trailing only Justin Verlander (1.59) and Shane Bieber (1.96).

Yarbrough pitched in the postseason in 2019-20, going 2-0 with a 3.06 ERA (6 ER in 17.2 IP) in 8 appearances (2 starts), including 3 appearances (1 start) in the 2020 World Series. 

Yarbrough played collegiately at Old Dominion University, the same school attended by Royals Manager Matt Quatraro and Royals infielder Vinnie Pasquantino. Yarbrough was selected by Seattle in the 4th round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft and was traded to Tampa Bay in January 2017 in a four-player deal that sent Drew Smyly to Seattle. 

Mills, 27, pitched in 27 games in 2022—including 19 games with the Royals after being acquired via trade from Seattle as part of a three-player deal on June 27—and posted a 4.60 ERA (15 ER in 29.1 IP) between Kansas City and Seattle.