Diving into the depths: Kansas City Royals

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
Kansas City Royals
Rotation
1. Zack Greinke
2. Gil Meche
3. Brian Bannister
4. Luke Hochevar
5. Kyle Davies
6. Robinson Tejeda
7. Kyle Farnsworth
8. Jorge Campillo
9. Bruce Chen
10. Anthony Lerew
11. Brad Thompson
12. Blake Johnson
13. Blake Wood
14. Aaron Crow
15. Noel Arguelles
Bannister and Davies are due a combined $4.1 million this year, so both figure to have spots in the rotation. Still, it’d be a shame if Tejeda is left out after going 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA in six starts at the end of last season. He has more upside than the three pitchers above him. Odds are that he’ll start off in the bullpen and then get another look as a starter come May or June.
Bullpen
1. Joakim Soria
2. Carlos Rosa
3. Kyle Farnsworth
4. Juan Cruz
5. Robinson Tejeda
6. Roman Colon
7. Brad Thompson
8. Matt Herges
9. Victor Marte
10. Dusty Hughes
11. Bruce Chen
12. Philip Humber
13. Jorge Campillo
14. Anthony Lerew
15. Edgar Osuna
16. John Parrish
17. Josh Rupe
18. Bryan Bullington
19. Adam Bostick
20. Francisco Rosario
Unless either Farnsworth or Tejeda can win a place in the rotation, the Royals would seem to have six spots spoken for here. I’m putting Thompson and Herges next, but the team doesn’t currently have a lefty penciled into the bullpen. Hughes, Chen, Osuna and Parrish could compete for the role unless the team signs a veteran.


Catcher
1. Jason Kendall
2. Brayan Pena
3. Vance Wilson
4. Edwin Bellorin
First base
1. Billy Butler
2. Wilson Betemit
3. Kila Ka’aihue
4. Josh Fields
5. Scott Thorman
Second base
1. Alberto Callaspo
2. Chris Getz
3. Mike Aviles
4. Willie Bloomquist
5. Jeff Bianchi
Third base
1. Alex Gordon
2. Josh Fields
3. Alberto Callaspo
4. Willie Bloomquist
5. Wilson Betemit
6. Mario Lisson
Shortstop
1. Yuniesky Betancourt
2. Willie Bloomquist
3. Mike Aviles
4. Mario Lisson
Getz’s defense might get him the nod over Callaspo at second base, though the Royals would be benching their second-best hitter from 2009 if they went that route. If they truly feel that strongly about Callaspo’s defense, they’d still probably be better off starting him at DH over Jose Guillen.
Left field
1. Scott Podsednik
2. Willie Bloomquist
3. Brian Anderson
4. Jordan Parraz
5. Buck Coats
Center field
1. Rick Ankiel
2. Willie Bloomquist
3. Brian Anderson
4. Mitch Maier
5. Jarrod Dyson
Right field
1. David DeJesus
2. Jose Guillen
3. Willie Bloomquist
4. Brian Anderson
5. Josh Fields
Designated hitter
1. Jose Guillen
2. Josh Fields
3. Alberto Callaspo
4. Wilson Betemit
5. Kila Ka’aihue
It’s a lineup that includes one sure thing in DeJesus, an emerging star in Butler and six question marks. And Kendall. Bloomquist is the only player guaranteed a bench spot. Another will go to Pena or Wilson as Kendall’s backup. That leaves two openings for the loser in the Callaspo-Getz competition, Fields, Aviles, Betemit, Anderson and Maier. I’d say Getz and Fields have the advantages there, but if Aviles shows he’s healthy after Tommy John surgery, a Callaspo trade will become a strong possibility.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Thursday’s action

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 16: Starting pitcher J.A. Happ #33 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the seventh inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on June 16, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
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Did you know J.A. Happ is in the thick of the American League Cy Young Award race? Of all the contenders, he may be the biggest surprise, even ahead of Drew Pomeranz. Happ leads the league with 17 wins and only has three losses to go with it. He’s holding a 3.05 ERA and a 133/44 K/BB ratio in 150 1/3 innings.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Happ was struggling to stay in a starting rotation. In 2011, his first full season with the Astros, he finished with a 5.35 ERA. In 2012, he put up a 4.79 ERA with the ‘stros and Blue Jays. The next year? 4.56 followed by 4.22, both with the Jays. Then, with the Mariners, he continued the mediocrity with a 4.64 ERA before he was traded to the Pirates.

Under the tutelage of Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage, Happ turned his career around. In 11 starts in Pittsburgh, the lefty had a microscopic 1.85 ERA. That came with significant improvements in his strikeout and walk rates. Even the ERA retrodictors like FIP and xFIP, which had so often agreed with his uninspiring ERA’s, agreed that he had thrown like an elite hurler. So that’s how we arrived at J.A. Happ, Cy Young Award contender.

Among AL starters, Happ is fifth-best in ERA behind Cole Hamels, Jose Quintana, Aaron Sanchez, and Steven Wright. However, his 17-3 record is equaled only by Rick Porcello. As there are still a significant number of voters in the Baseball Writers Association of America who consider won-lost record, Happ is sitting in a good position and will be even better if he can cross the coveted 20-win threshold. He’ll get a bit of a boost as well if he can help the Jays return to the postseason for a second consecutive season.

Happ’s Jays will host the hapless — and Happ-less — Angels on Thursday evening. He’ll take on veteran Jered Weaver in a 7:07 PM EDT start.

The rest of Thursday’s action…

Baltimore Orioles (Ubaldo Jimenez) @ Washington Nationals (Max Scherzer), 7:05 PM EDT

Kansas City Royals (Edinson Volquez) @ Miami Marlins (Tom Koehler), 7:10 PM EDT

New York Mets (Seth Lugo) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Adam Wainwright), 7:15 PM EDT

Cleveland Indians (Josh Tomlin) @ Texas Rangers (Cole Hamels), 8:05 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Pirates (Chad Kuhl) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Wily Peralta), 8:10 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners (James Paxton) @ Chicago White Sox (Anthony Ranaudo), 8:10 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves (Matt Wisler) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (Robbie Ray), 9:40 PM EDT

San Francisco Giants (Matt Moore) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Ross Stripling), 10:10 PM EDT

Let’s play the “how long has it been since the Cubs won the World Series?” game!

1908 Cubs
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It started with a no-good St. Louis Cardinals fan being a troublemaker. That no-good Cardinals fan was Drew Silva, who began things innocently enough, noting that, despite their dominance this season, any team can theoretically beat the Chicago Cubs in a short series because that’s just how baseball goes:

Cubs fans started giving him guff for that, so Drew gave some back:

And with that it was on like Donkey Kong (a super old video game which was not invented for another 73 years after the Cubs last won the World Series). I tweeted this:

And with that, my followers went crazy. Here’s a sampling of some of the best ones:

And, for that matter . . .

Too soon. Unlike the last Cubs World Series title.

Like I said, this was just a sampling. I’ve retweeted a ton more on my timeline and those I didn’t retweet can be seen in the replies here. My favorite one may have been “literally the invention of sliced bread,” which debuted in 1912, but I can’t find that tweet.

Please, Cubs fans, have a sense of humor about this. You have a wonderful ballpark that is not named after a third tier mortgage company, a grand history that is fantastic even if it hasn’t featured any championships and a future that is as bright or brighter than any other team out there. Maybe even come up with some of your own in the comments! History is fun! As is self-deprecation! What I’m saying is don’t be salty about this sort of thing. Salty is a bad look.

In other news, the Morton Salt Company was incorporated in 1910, two years after the Cubs last World Series victory.