Diving into the depths: Kansas City Royals

Leave a comment

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.

Michael Bourn opts out of his minor league deal with the Orioles

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.

Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.

As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.

Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.

Rob Manfred talks about playing regular season games in Mexico

8 Comments

The new Collective Bargaining Agreement commits the players and the league to regular season games on foreign soil. Most of the focus of this has been on games in London, for which there has been a lot of activity and discussion.

Yesterday before the Astros-Tigers game in Houston, however, Commissioner Rob Manfred talked about playing games in Mexico. And not as just a one-off, but as a foot-in-the-water towards possible expansion:

Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that the time had come to play regular-season games in Mexico City as Major League Baseball weighs international expansion.

“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred said. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”

A team in Mexico could make some geographic sense and some marketing sense, though it’s not clear if there is a city that would be appropriate for that right now. Mexico City is huge but it has plenty of its own sports teams and is far away from the parts of the country where baseball is popular (mostly the border states and areas along the Pacific coast). At 7,382 feet, its elevation would make games at Coors Field look like the Deadball Era.

Monterrey has been talked about — games have been played there and it’s certainly closer — but it’s somewhat unknown territory demographically speaking. It’s not as big as Mexico City, obviously. Income stratification is greater there and most of the rest of Mexico than it is in the United States too, making projections of how much discretionary income people may spend on an expensive entertainment product like Major League Baseball uncertain. Especially when they have other sports they’ve been following for decades.

Interesting, though. It’s something Manfred has talked about many times over the years, so unlike so many other things he says he’s “considering” or “hasn’t ruled out,” Major League Baseball in Mexico is something worth keeping our eyes on.