Royals Sign Luis Cessa, Austin Cox, Logan Porter, and Diego Hernandez to Minor League Deals
The Kansas City Royals have made some moves to bolster their roster, announcing the signings of right-hander Luis Cessa, left-hander Austin Cox, catcher Logan Porter, and outfielder Diego Hernandez to minor league deals. While Cessa is a newcomer to the organization, Cox, Hernandez, and Porter are making quick returns after being non-tendered yesterday.
Luis Cessa: A Pitcher with Ups and Downs
Luis Cessa is best known for his time with the New York Yankees, where he showcased his versatility as a starter, reliever, and swingman. During the 2021 season, Cessa impressed with a 2.51 ERA over 64 2/3 bullpen innings with the Yankees and Cincinnati Reds. However, his performance took a dip in 2022, posting a 4.57 ERA as a swingman.
Things went even further south for Cessa in 2023 when he struggled as a starter, recording a 9.00 ERA over 26 innings and eventually being released by the Reds in May. Despite signing minor league contracts with the Rockies and Nationals, Cessa continued to struggle at the Triple-A level.
With a career 4.43 ERA and 4.41 SIERA, Cessa has relied on good whiff and chase rates to compensate for his low strikeout totals. However, his control issues emerged in 2023, leading to increased walk rates at both the MLB and minor league levels.
Now, the 31-year-old right-hander will have a fresh start with the Royals, who are in need of pitching depth. As the team is not expected to make big splashes in free agency, Kansas City will likely bring in several veteran arms on minor league or low-cost deals, hoping to find hidden gems for their Opening Day roster.
Austin Cox: Overcoming Adversity
Austin Cox made his MLB debut in 2023, showcasing promise with a 4.54 ERA over 35 2/3 innings. Unfortunately, his rookie year was cut short when he tore his ACL while covering first base during a fielding play in a game against the Blue Jays on September 8. As a result, Cox will miss most, if not all, of the 2024 season as he recovers.
Despite the setback, Cox quickly passed through waivers after being designated for assignment, suggesting a potential agreement for him to rejoin the Royals. This familiarity will provide him with a supportive environment to rehabilitate and work towards a successful return.
Logan Porter: A Depth Option Behind the Plate
Logan Porter made his debut in 2023, impressing with a .647 OPS in 38 plate appearances over his first 11 games in the major leagues. As an undrafted free agent who signed with the Royals in 2018, Porter has shown promise in the minor leagues, hitting .248/.367/.394 over 594 plate appearances at the Triple-A level in the past two seasons.
While Salvador Perez and Freddy Fermin form the Royals’ catching tandem at the big league level, Porter will serve as a valuable depth option in the minor leagues.
Overall, the Royals’ recent signings of Cessa, Cox, Porter, and Hernandez provide the team with additional talent and depth as they prepare for the upcoming season. These minor league deals offer opportunities for these players to prove themselves and potentially earn spots on the Royals’ roster.