Results tagged ‘ Salvador Perez ’
In terms of impact roster moves, today (and maybe yesterday) has been extremely busy.
After tearing up Triple-A pitching during his rehad assignment, catcher Salvador Perez is finally off of the 60-day DL and back on the Royals active roster. The 22 year old backstop tore cartilage in his left knee back in spring training. During his 12 games in Omaha, Salvy hit for a cool .340 average while also catching nine innings in back-to-back games.
The Royals have said that they may carry three catchers on their 25-man roster in order to ease Perez back into the starting role. But once Sal is completely ready to get back to catching nine innings five days a week, it’s anybody’s guess as to who of Brayan Pena and Humberto Quintero will be traded, waived, or released.
The tandem of Pena (38 games) and Quintero (42 games) have combined for a .253 batting average, a .263 OBP, 22 XBH, and 32 RBI while commiting 8 errors and throwing out 33% of base stealers.
Felipe Paulino appears headed for Tommy John surgery…
Losing Paulino for the rest of the season is, in the least, a major blow to the Royals already hampered pitching staff. The news leaked today that Flip has a torn ulnar-colateral ligament in his right elbow and will seek a second opinion. But if Royals fans have learned anything from this season, it’s that a torn UCL means Tommy John surgery. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Paulino is no stranger to the DL, as he opened the season on it with a strained right forearm. He then was placed on the 15-day DL yet again two weeks ago due to a groin injury. In between his two previous stints on the DL however, Paulino was one of the more solid pitchers in baseball. In 7 starts, Flip was 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA and 39 K’s in 37.2 IP.
So now the Royals are left with some questions to answer. Who is going to take Paulino’s spot on the roster/rotation? Why have four Royals pitchers (Soria, Wood, Duffy, and Paulino) torn their UCL’s this season?
Enter your Jake Odorizzi talk here.
This could really fall under the great news portion of this post, but in the grand scheme of things it has almost no effect on the team.
The Royals and Blue Jays pulled off a blockbuster deal on Wednesday.
KC shipped right-hander Sean O’Sullivan to Toronto in exchange for a bag with a “$” on it. No information has been given as to what the cash considerations are that are headed the Royals’ way, but odds are that it isn’t anything significant.
S.O.S. came over to KC in July of 2010 when the Angels shipped him and LHP Will Smith for 3B/2B Alberto Callaspo, who had hit a combined .293/.343/.426 with an even 100 XBH (68 doubles, 13 triples, 19 homers) over 317 games with the Royals.
During his time with the big league club, O’Sullivan was anything and everything but overwhelming. In 43 games (34 starts), Sean was a combined 5-12 with a 6.63 ERA. O’Sullivan had been doing so poorly this season that he was even removed from the starting rotation in Omaha. In 17 games this season (5 starts), he recorded a 5-4 record and a 6.75 ERA.
The Blue Jays have been struggling to keep their rotation healthy this season, seeing three starters hit the DL in the past week or so (including Kyle Drabek who is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery).
S.O.S. joins the list of former Royals greats who have made their way to Toronto after being given up on by the Royals. That list includes Kyle Davies, Jesse Chavez, Mark Teahen, Ruben Gotay, Shawn Camp, Aaron Laffey, and (yes, sadly) Jose Bautista.
Last night, the Royals wrapped up possibly their most exciting series this season with a second-straight walk-off win.
The hero this time was Brayan Pena. With two outs in the bottom of the 9th, down 3-2, and runners on second (Maier) and first (Dyson), Ned Yost opted to sub-in the switch-hitting Pena in place of the right-handed hitting Humberto Quintero to face Milwaukee closer John Axford.
The move paid off when Pena hit a long single into left field. Mitch Maier scored easily on the play to tie the score at 3-3. Dyson’s speed allowed him to go first-to-third on the single; that’s when things got exciting.
Brayan took a wide turn around first base, leading the cut-off man to throw to Rickie Weeks at second, thinking they could get Pena in a rundown. Seeing that the defense wasn’t paying him much attention, Dyson took off for home plate. Weeks bobbled the ball before firing the ball home, which skipped past Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado. Regardless of the throw, Dyson had the play beat as he dove head-first into home to score the winning run and complete the comeback.
Brewers’ closer John Axford was saddled with the loss after allowing the Royals back in the game for the second straight night. He loaded the bases the previous night before surrendering a walk to Mike Moustakas to end the game.
Promotions, Demotions, and the DL
- Demoted: 2B Johnny Giavotella (Omaha), 1B Clint Robinson (Omaha), RHP Louis Coleman (Omaha)
- The demotions of Johnny Giavotella and Clint Robinson were fairly easy to forecast. After tearing up Triple A pitching, Gio was unable to replicate his hitting ways. After hitting a meager .217/.260/.261 through 21 games, the team optioned him to Omaha to make room for Chris Getz’s return from the DL. Robinson went 0-for-4 in four pinch-hit appearances with two Ks. Everyone knew that his stay wasn’t going to be a long one. He was optioned back to Triple A Omaha before last night’s game.
- Coleman was demoted to clear space for Jonathan Sanchez on the active roster. Lou will undoubtedly be back up sometime this summer, as he has a solid 3.15 ERA in 20 innings with the Royals this season.
- Promoted: RHP Roman Colon (KC)
- Roman Colon made his Royals debut way back in 2009. Since then, he’s played in Japan in 2010 and in the Dodgers system (2011). The righty reliever had a respectable 3.34 ERA in 29.2 innings this season for the Storm Chasers before being summoned to the big league level.
- Reinstated from the DL: 2B Chris Getz (KC), LHP Jonathan Sanchez (KC), LHP Everett Teaford (Omaha)
- DL Shift: Danny Duffy (15-Day to 60-Day)
Frenchy and Yost Ejected
For those Jeff Francoeur fans who came out on Frenchy Quarter Night, he apologizes.
“I might have to invite them all out for a `Frenchy Quarter’ Wednesday.” – Jeff Francoeur
In the bottom of the 2nd inning and the count 0-2, Shaun Marcum delivered what was a called strike three to Jeff Francoeur to record the strikeout. The only problem was that the pitch (and FoxTrax conferred) was well inside and off the plate. Francoeur immediately turned around to question home plate umpire Dan Iassogna’s call. It was all jaw between the two until Frenchy used his bat to demonstrate how far off the plate the pitch was. If a player uses a “prop” when arguing a call, he is immediately ejected – which is exactly what happened. Jeff was forced to watch the rest of the game from the clubhouse after being replaced in right by Mitch Maier. But he wasn’t lonely for too long…
In the top of the 4th, Nyjer Morgan laid down a bunt that bounced up and hit Morgan while he was in fair territory. According to the rulebook, if a batted ball hits an offensive player in fair territory, the afforementioned player is out. But umpire Dan Iassogna, once again, didn’t it that way. Instead of calling Morgan out, he ruled it a foul ball – extending the at-bat. Yost came out fired up and was ejected because of it.
In his first return to Kauffman Stadium, Royals fans welcomed former ace Zack Greinke back to a myriad of both cheers and boos. Greinke expected to hear a little bit of both due to the fact that he won his Cy Young award during his time in KC and also because of the way he basically forced his way out of the organization.
The Royals got off to a quick start against Zack when Alex Gordon lead off the bottom of the 1st inning by smashing a 3-2 fastball into the fountains beyond the Pepsi Party Porch to give the Royals an early 1-0 lead. That was the only run Greinke gave up during seven innings, but was saddled with a no-decision when the Royals broke a 1-1 tie in the 8th on a Billy Butler RBI single.
His counterpart on the mound was Royals starter/long-reliever/swing-man/mop-up guy Luis Mendoza. Mendoza one-upped Greinke by carrying a no-hitter into the 7th inning, where he gave up a leadoff single to Ryan Braun and a walk to Aramis Ramirez before Yost decided to go to the ‘pen. Milwaukee’s lone run came around to score in the inning, which was charged to Mendoza.
The return of Salvador Perez is near, folks. He’s 13-for-35 with 7 RBI thus far during his rehab assigment in Omaha and he’s catching a full nine innings. Once Perez returns, the Royals have said they may carry three catchers in order to ease him back into playing everyday. Look for Sal to be back in Kansas City by the end of this month.
Meanwhile, CF Lorenzo Cain is off to Double-A Northwest Arkansas to begin a rehab assigment. Cain hasn’t played in a game since April 10th in Oakland when he injured his groin while running into the centerfield wall.
Top prospect John Lamb is expected to resume pitching at the beginning of July. The lefty underwent Tommy John sugery last June.
The Brewers Must Not Have Heard About Alex Gordon
Apparently the Brewers weren’t aware of this Alex Gordon guy who roams around left field for the Royals. You know, the 2012 AL Gold Glover and outfield assists leader. That guy.
Ryan Braun, who has fairly good speed, decided to test Gordon’s arm Tuesday night on a medium-depth flyball. Not only did Alex make a perfect throw to home to record the out, the play wasn’t even close. Braun was out by four or five steps.
“That fires me up more than anything, because it feels like you’re picking your pitcher up and the crowd loves it, the fans go crazy. It’s pretty cool.” - Alex Gordon after his fifth outfield assist of the season
Second Pick Signs
Sam Selman, the Vanderbily lefty whom the Royals selected with their second pick in the 2012 Draft, has agreed to sign with the Royals to the tune of $750,000.
The Royals have officially signed their first 11 picks of the draft and 28 of 40.
Interleague Play Continues
The Royals (27-34) will travel across I-70 to St. Louis for a weekend series against the Cardinals (33-31).
Friday @ 7:15 pm – RHP Vin Mazzaro (2-1) vs. RHP Kyle Lohse (6-1)
Saturday @ 1:10 pm – LHP Bruce Chen (5-6) vs. RHP Joe Kelly (0-0)
Sunday @ 1:10 pm – RHP Luis Mendoza (2-3) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (5-7)
After that, the Royals will make their way to Houston for a three-game series against the Astros.
I sincerely apologize if anyone came by here yesterday or the day before looking for a post after the Royals gave away the series finale to the A’s. I was too gut-wrenched at the time. But I’ve had some time to think.
A 3-3 road trip – not too shabby. The mantra is “Go .500 on the road, win at home”.
The Royals could have easily been 6-0 coming into today if it weren’t for one bad inning (Angels – game 1 of the series), base running blunders in a 1-0 game (A’s – game 1 of the series), and an ugly bottom of the 12th (A’s – game 3 of the series).
But here we are.
After going up 4-3, Ned Yost brought Jonathan Broxton in to closeout the game in the 12th inning. Brox got off to a great start, striking out Daric Barton. Seth Smith then hit a groundball to the glove side of Alcides Escobar. Esky fumbled the ball initially, picked it up, and made an offline throw to Hosmer at first. Hosmer, at the time, made a game saving play by diving away from the bag to stop the ball from rolling into the limitless amount of foul territory. Smith was safe, one on and one-out.
Broxton then walked Jemile Weeks on four pitches. Then Eric Sogard on six pitches. Bases jacked, one-out. The situation is tense, but still manageable.
Coco Crisp hit a groudball to Yuni’s glove side, pulling him away from second base. Given Crisp’s speed, the double-play possibility was eliminated. Yuni threw to first for the out, but the tying run still scored. Two outs, 4-4 ball game, runners on second and third.
The next pitch: a 95 mph fastball. Right into Yoenis Cespedes’ ribs, loading the bases.
Yost came out for a mound visit, but left Brox in the game. Hindsight is 20/20.
Johnny Gomes takes a Broxton fastball in the hip. Game over.
Back to back walks. Two pitches, two hit batters.
If Broxton were in any other position in this bullpen, he would have been yanked right after he loaded the bases, if not before. But it’s that closer title he’s been given that made Ned think that he should stay in there and stick it out. If any other reliever had given up three straight free passes like that, don’t you think Ned would made the switch?
Now it all wasn’t Broxton’s fault. The usual sure-handed Escobar made a costly error too. He makes that play 95% of the time. If he makes the play properly, it’s nobody on and two outs. And, more importantly, no pressure.
But in the end, Broxton deservedly took the loss.
Cain to the DL
Lorezno Cain made a terrific play on Tuesday, crashing into the wall in deep center while robbing the A’s of an RBI and extra bases. Cain hurt his groin when he hit the wall and was pulled from the game an inning later. It was a Grade 1 groin strain, the least severe. Cain got Wednesday’s game off, as well as Thursday due to the team’s day off. He planned to be ready for the home opener.
Lorenzo was placed on the 15-day DL yesterday due to a strained left groin.
It’s more of a precautionary move, due to the fact that Cain’s biggest asset is his speed and range in the outfield. The Royals want to take care of this issue now to make sure it won’t become a lingering issue. Jarrod Dyson was called up from Triple A Omaha to take Cain’s spot on the roster. Dyson was hitting .364 in Omaha thus far (12 for 33) with 6 SB.
The Royals have a plethora of options to fill the center field void left by Cain: left-handed hitters Mitch Maier and Jarrod Dyson, and right-handed hitting Jason Bourgeois.
Gordon Gets Off the Schneid
Alex Gordon broke his season-long hitless streak on Wednesday in a big way.
In his second AB of the game, Alex hit a RBI single into center field – hit first hit of the season. But Alex didn’t let up much after that.
Gordon (1) sent a Brian Fuentes sinker over the wall in center field, which tied the game at 3-3.
Alex ended the game going 2 for 5 with a single, HR, BB, 0 K, and 2 RBI.
He also made a great diving catch to end the bottom of the 5th, robbing Josh Reddick of a base hit and possible RBI – keeping the game at 3-2 Oakland.
Catcher Salvador Perez is making progress on the road to recovery. After a sucessful surgery four weeks ago, Sal was able to ditch the crutches and walk freely through the Royals clubhouse.
Felipe Paulino, who was sent to the DL because of a strained right forearm, is progressing as well. He began throwing off of a mound in a bullpen workout a few days ago. He was able to throw live batting practice on Thursday, stating, “I feel good, strong, I want to help this team now.” He should be sent out on a few minor league rehab assignments some time soon.
Weather permitting, the Royals will play their first game at The K in 2012 today at 3:10 CT against the division rival Cleveland Indians. The Indians are 1-4 thus far on the season, being outscored 31-20 through five games. The Royals (3-3) have outscored their opponents 18-16.
The starters will be Cleveland’s Derek Lowe (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Kansas City’s Luke Hochevar (1-0, 2.84 ERA).
The forecast for today’s game is mostly cloudy, mid-60′s, with about a 20% chance of rain.
Damon Lands in Cleveland
Speaking of the Tribe, they have struck a one-year deal with 38 year old outfielder, and former Royal, Johnny Damon. After he’s added to the team’s 40-man roster, the left-handed Damon figures to platoon with right-handed Shelley Duncan in left field.
Johnny, who is coming off a good season with Tampa (.261/.326, 29 2B, 19 HR, 73 RBI, 19 SB), is only 277 hits away from 3,000 for his career. He figures to reduce that number greatly this season in Cleveland.
Given the absence of Grady Sizemore for another 8-12 weeks (what else is new?), the Indians found themselves needing more offense production from their outfield; hence the Damon deal.
With a 7-6 victory over the Padres last night, the Royals wrapped up Spring Training at 16-15. Hey, take it for what it is. Yeah, it’s only Spring Training. But you have to start somewhere, right?
The Royals 2012 Spring Training was… interesting. We saw injuries (both significant and not), position battles/tinkering, rotation and bullpen shuffles, promotions, demotions, trades, off-the-chart performances, contract extensions, etc.
So here’s a quick recap of it all:
- Significant Injuries
- Manny Pina C: Feb. 22 - torn right meniscus (knee), 60 Day DL
- Salvador Perez C: Mar. 14 – torn left meniscus (knee), 60 Day DL
- Joakim Soria RHP: Mar. 19 – Tommy John surgery (right elbow), 15 Day DL – will miss 2012
- Slightly Less Significant Injuries
- Blake Wood RHP: Mar. 26 – sore right elbow (ulner nerve), 15 Day DL
- Felipe Paulino RHP: Mar. 26 – sore right elbow/forearm, 15 Day DL
Each one of the injuries required reactionary moves from the club. The injuries to Pina and Perez forced the Royals to look for a veteran, defense-first catcher; leading to the acquisition of Humberto Quintero. Soria’s injury opened up the closer role to one or all of Holland, Broxton, and Crow. It also opened up a full-time spot in the bullpen for a fresh face. Blake Wood’s spot became up for grabs, but he was a fringe bullpen guy to begin with. The loss of Felipe opened up two rotation spots for Mendoza and Duffy, as well as the long-relief spot for Everett Teaford.
- Position Battles
- Second base
- Injuries aside, the combo of Chris Getz and Yuniesky Betancourt winning the 2B job over Johnny Giavotella was the biggest shock of the Spring. Virtually everyone, myself included, basically gave Gio the job before the Royals arrived in Surprise. But, to their credit, Getz and Yuni outperformed Gio and currently present better options defensively for KC.
- Fifth Starter
- The first three rotation spots were a given: Chen, Hochevar, and Sanchez. The last two spots were up for grabs, but Paulno and Duffy basically had dibs on the spots. But the performance of Luis Mendoza changed all of that. He was without a dout the best pitcher in Royals camp, forcing the Royals to give him a rotation spot. And once Paulino went to the DL, Duffy had the fifth spot locked up.
- Lefty Relievers
- No lefty had a bullpen spot given to them coming into Sporing Training, although Jose Mijares was close. Every bullpen should have at least one lefty, but two would be more ideal, and three would be perfect; and that’s what the Royals wound up with. Jose Mijares, Tim Collins, and Everett Teaford comprise the left-side of the bullpen – beating out other lefties Tommy Hottovy and Francisely Bueno. Mijares and Collins will serve as middle relief/situational lefties, while Teaford will be the swing-man/spot-starter
- Second base
- Eric Hosmer: Right Fielder
- Say what? That can’t be right, can it? Yep. It happened. A few times, actually. In order to maximize offense against NL teams, the Royals tinkered around with Eric Hosmer in RF (and Jeff Francoeur in CF) so they could have both Hoz and Billy Butler in the lineup. Hosmer is a good enough athlete that playing RF shouldn’t be difficult at all for him. He has a terrific arm and good enough speed that I thought he could have been an everyday right fielder in the minors (this was all before we had Frenchy, Wil Myers was still a catcher, and Kila Ka’aihue was mashing in Omaha).
- 12 Man Shuffle
- Rotation (5)
- Chen L, Hochevar R, Sanchez L, Mendoza R, Duffy L
- No, Montgomery won’t be opening the season in Kansas City. Neither will Felipe Paulino, but not for the same reasons. Monty didn’t perform well in his few outings, and Paulino was sent to the DL, which opened up spots for Mendoza and Duffy.
- Chen L, Hochevar R, Sanchez L, Mendoza R, Duffy L
- Bullpen (7)
- Holland R, Broxton R, Crow R, Herrera R, Mijares L, Collins L, Teaford L
- Without Soria, the roles in back-end of the bullpen are up in the air. Holland and Broxton are the clear front-runners for the closing position, with Aaron Crow not far behind.
- The most notable surprise here was Kelvin Herrera taking a spot away from Louis Coleman. Herrera had a great Spring, and Coleman scuffed a bit as roster cuts loomed. Herrera has the potential to be a closer someday. Luckily for him, someday may come soon.
- Holland R, Broxton R, Crow R, Herrera R, Mijares L, Collins L, Teaford L
- Rotation (5)
- Notable Promotions
- Kelvin Herrera RHP, Everett Teaford LHP
- See above.
- Kelvin Herrera RHP, Everett Teaford LHP
- Notable Demotions
- Johnny Giavotella 2B, Louis Coleman RHP, Jarrod Dyson OF, Sean O’Sullivan RHP
- If you’ve been reading, you already know why Gio and Sweet Lou were demoted to Omaha.
- Jarrod Dyson became expendable with the acquistion of OF/U Jason Bourgeois. Dyson has the speed and defensive tools down, but he really needs to learn how to keep his flyball rates down so he can appropriately use his speed (similar to Juan pierre). Afterall, you can’t hustle out a pop-up.
- The demotion of Sean O’Sullivan is no surprise. But in order to do so (since SOS was out of minor league options), the Royals had to place him on waivers – making him available to the rest of the league. Since nobody placed a claim on him, the Royals were able to send him to Triple A.
- Johnny Giavotella 2B, Louis Coleman RHP, Jarrod Dyson OF, Sean O’Sullivan RHP
- LHP Kevin Chapman and a PTBNL (KC) for C Humberto Quintero and OF/U Jason Bourgeois (HOU)
- Chapman is a solid C+ to B- lefty reliever who would have been a welcome addition to the Royals in the future, but he (along with an unknown) helped the Royals land two veterans who can help the team this season.
- Quintero is a career backup, but has seen enough playing time throughout his career that you pretty much know what you’llget out of him. Solid defense, below-average-but-acceptable offense. He’ll compliment Brayan Pena, as they’ll likely be splitting time at the catcher position until Sal Perez returns.
- Jason Bourgeois is capable of playing all three OF positions, as well as some 2B and 3B. So, needless to say, his versatility is his biggest tool. And although he isn’t as fast as Dyson, he provides extra speed off the bench.
- OF Greg Golson (KC) for cash considerations (CWS)
- The Royals made an inter-divisional trade by shipping Golson to the White Sox for cash. Golson is a quick OF capable of filling in at each spot, but his bat has never really been there. He was a non-roster invitee this Spring, so nothing was really lost. He never really had a shot to make the roster anyway.
- LHP Kevin Chapman and a PTBNL (KC) for C Humberto Quintero and OF/U Jason Bourgeois (HOU)
- Performance Reviews
- Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, and Billy Butler each hit over .360 this Spring, with Hosmer leading the league in RBI. If they can carry their performances into the season, the Royals may have one of the best 1-4 hitters in baseball in 2012.
- Hopefully, since Mike Moustakas is a notorious “slow starter”, he got all of that out of the way this Spring. He only his .240, but came around a little bit as ST came to an end.
- Bruce Chen and Jonathan Sanchez had rough Springs, as did Danny Duffy (even though he did show flashes of dominance).
- Luke Hochevar showed that he may have gotten his career on the right track, and Luis Mendoza made Royals fans, scouts, and coaches a believer.
The season begins tomorrow night in Anaheim against Prince Albert and the Angels at 9:05 CT. It’ll be Bruce Chen vs. Jered Weaver.
Here’s to hoping the Royals can make this a fun, interesting, and competitive season! Do your part and get out to The K!
It’s set. That’s it. No take backs, do overs, quitsies, or anti-quitsies. Triple stamped it, no erasies, touch blue make it true. (Dumb & Dumber, for the layperson)
The Royals have officially set their 2012 Opening Day 25-man roster. And aside from maybe one or two guys, it’s pretty much what we all should have expected it to be. So they’ll break camp with 13 hitters and 12 pitchers.
Catchers (2): Brayan Pena, Humberto Quintero
- C’mon… Did you really expect Cody Clark to make the team? Quintero is a proven catch and throw guy, who will give the Royals solid defense when he’s behind the plate 3-4 days a week.
Infielders (6): Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler, Chris Getz, Yuniesky Betancourt, Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas
- The demotion of Johnny Giavotella (and thus the presence of Chris Getz) was the only real surprise here. Yuni and Getz will share the 2B/Utility role until Gio earns another look. Other than that, after the Yuni signing, you could have pegged everyone else from the get go.
Outfielders (5): Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, Jeff Francoeur, Jason Bourgeois, Mitch Maier
- The addition of the speedy and versatile Bourgeois made light-hitting Jarrod Dyson expendable. Bourgeois mashed lefties in 2011 (.395 AVG), and spent significant time at all 3 OF positions, as well as a few games at 2B. He also can play at 3B if needed.
- Lorenzo Cain has been off the charts this Spring, leading the league in what seems to be almost every offensive category. I don’t think we’ll see any loss of production from Melky to Zo in CF.
Starters (5): Bruce Chen-L, Luke Hochevar-R, Jonathan Sanchez-L, Luis Mendoza-R, Danny Duffy-L
- Flip Paulino going to the DL really set up the rotation. If it weren’t for his injury, Duffy would have most likely been reassigned to Triple A.
- Luis Mendoza has arguably been the best pitcher in baseball this Spring, essentially forcing the Royals to give him a spot in the rotation.
Bullpen (7): Greg Holland-R, Jonathan Broxton-R, Jose Mijares-L, Aaron Crow-R, Tim Collins- L, Everett Teaford-L, Kelvin Herrera-R
- Once again, Paulino’s injury helped someone else make the roster: Everett Teaford. By all accounts, Teaford earned his spot on the team, but without Paulino or Mendoza in the bullpen, Teaford becomes the long reliever / spot-starter.
- Kelvin Herrera was the true dark horse here. Louis Coleman had the job locked down until he allowed runs in 5 of his last 6 appearances, basically handing the job over to Herrera. Kelvin has been dominant so far, even earning himself 2 Saves this Spring.
Disabled List (5): Salvador Perez (60 day), Manny Pina (60 day), Joakim Soria (IR), Felipe Paulino (15 day), Blake Wood (15 day)
- How disappointing… The loss of Sal Perez stings the most. Given the severity of his injury, he most likely won’t be able to return to the team until after the All-Star break.
- Losing Soria, although it may appear huge on the surface, doesn’t really affect the Royals as much as people may think. Yes, he is a proven performer, but he plays a position that is way overvalued. He got knocked around in ST, looking an awful lot like he did at the beginning of 2011.
And incase you’re wondering where everyone else who was left in camp went, here you go:
Reassigned to Triple A Omaha (2): Louis Coleman-R, Jeremy Jeffress-R
Reassigned to Minor League Camp (4): Tommy Hottovy-L, Francisely Bueno-L, Max Ramirez-C, Kevin Kouzmanoff-3B
This flurry of moves leaves the Royals with 26 healthy players in camp. But you can only break Spring Training with 25 players on your active roster, so one guy has to go. And that man is…
SOS is out of minor league options. So in order for the Royals to rid him for good, they’ll have to place him on waivers, meaning any other team can claim him for themselves. O’Sullivan will be the starter for tonight’s game against the White Sox, basically auditioning for any team who might think about claiming him.
Surprises from Surprise
- Chris Getz/Yuni combo over Johnny Giavotella
- Kelvin Herrera over Louis Coleman
The Royals announced yesterday that they have made their first roster cuts of the Spring by sending 8 of their Spring Training invitees to Minor League camp, 2 to Triple A Omaha, and 1 to AA Northwest Arkansas.
The 8 reassigned to Minor League camp are lefties Mike Montgomery, Will Smith, Chris Dwyer, and Brandon Sisk; right-hander Jake Odorizzi, catcher Julio Rodriguez, and outfielders Paulo Orlando and Wil Myers.
Two pitchers, RHP Nate Adcock and LHP Ryan Verdugo were assigned to Omaha, while LHP Noel Arguelles was assigned to Northwest Arkansas.
Monty did little to impress in his short time this Spring. In just 2.2 innings, he gave up 6 runs, 6 hits, and 3 BBs. Mike came into camp hoping to force the Royals to give him one of the final two spots in the rotation. He’s still a top prospect, and he’ll get as much time as he needs in the minors to make adjustments to his delivery in order to make things right.
Odorizzi only made two appearances, going 2 innings apiece. He struggled in his first outing, giving up 2 runs, before finding his rhythm in the second.
Wil Myers did well, taking part in 9 games thus far. He put up a .313 AVG, but K’d 5 times while getting zero extra base hits.
Brandon Sisk and Will Smith both left Big League camp with 0.00 ERA’s in 6 combined innings (Sisk-2, Smith-4). Neither had a shot at making the team out of ST, thus earning them their respective reassignments.
These guys were all reassigned mostly because the Royals want them to get more playing time to keep their development on track. Sticking in Big League camp, getting a few innings/at-bats here and there wouldn’t really do much good for anyone at this point.
The 11 players cut reduces the number of players in camp at 46.
Salvador Perez’s Timetable
For those who were hoping for a quick recovery, your dreams have been dashed.
After a successful procedure on his torn left-lateral meniscus this morning in KCK, the Royals have said that Salvador Perez will most likely be out for 14-16 weeks – meaning a possible mid-June return. The 12-14 weeks include both healing time and Minor League rehab assignments.
Feeling a Little Pudgey
With Brayan Pena being the only healthy catcher on the 40-man roster, the Royals are on the lookout for a possible veteran platoon partner, much like they did last season with Matt Treanor.
While there are only a handful of available veteran catchers, one name seems to standout above the rest:
Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.
With Perez out, I’m sure GMDM is looking for someone who could come in and garner instant trust from the pitching staff. So, of the available names, who could be better than a 14-time All-Star, 13-time Gold Glove award winner, former AL MVP?
At 40, his numbers have declined as his age has risen. His bat is nowhere near where it used to be. But in 21 seasons, Pudge has a career slash line of .296/.334/.464. He’s still a tough at-bat and still has a solid-arm behind the plate, throwing out 52% of would-be base stealers in 37 games with Washington in 2011.
The Royals are also said to be sifting through rather lackluster options, like career minor leaguers Craig Tatum, Corky Miller, and Wil Nieves, all of which are extra-light hitting, average defense catchers.
In my mind, Pudge would be the perfect guy to come in and hold Sal’s place while he recovers. Then once Sal is ready to come back, keep Pudge around as a mentor for Perez for the rest of the season. Afterall, if I were a young Latino catcher, who could be better to learn from then one of the best catchers of all-time?
Now have a happy 3:16 day, ’cause Stone Cold said so!
The Royals have stated that it is a torn left lateral meniscus. Sal will have surgery in Kansas City sometime in the next couple of days. A speedy recovery would mean at least 4 weeks, while the average recovery time is 6-8 weeks.
The Royals have announced that Salvador Perez has torn cartilage in his left knee and that there currently is no timetable for his return.
Cross your fingers KC! And hope that Salvy is a quick healer!
Before yesterday’s 7-5 ST victory over the Reds, Sal Perez and Jonathan Sanchez were doing their usual pre-game warm-up when Salvy suffered some degree of a knee injury. Ned and Royals trainer Nick Kenney checked him out beofre Perez said he was good to go.
Salvy was able to crouch, so he wasn’t scratched from the lineup card. He took the field and caught the 1st inning before being pulled, leaving the game with a “noticeable limp”. And according to his Twitter account, Perez is heading to Kansas City today to have an MRI done on said knee.
Salvador Perez, while he is far from he best player, may be the most valuable and irreplacable guy on the Royals roster right now. He is supposed to be the guy who is the anchor behind the plate and earn the trust of the pitching staff. And he just signed a long-term contract…
If all goes well, Perez will be listed as day-today, with his trip to KC just being strictly precautionary. He’ll ice it up, take a few days off, and then get back to work.
If all goes to hell, we’re left with the lovely tandem of Brayan Pena and Max Ramirez/Cody Clark/Free Agent’s name here.
Without Perez behind the plate, the defense obviously takes a huge hit. Brayan Pena and Max Ramirez are both, to a degree, offense first catchers. Pena’s defensive struggles have been well noted in Kansas City, even though he has improved his game.
Manny Pina is already out for at least the first few months of the season due to a tear in his right knee, so he’s out of the short-term equation. Ramirez and Clark are non-roster invitees, meaning that neither one of them are currently oin the 40-man. So to put one of them on the roster would require removing smoeone from the current 40-man. Same goes for a FA.
So for right, now I’m in Hold-Your-Breath Mode. We should know more about the severity of Sal’s knee some time later today and I’ll update as soon as I hear something new.
1. Alex Gordon will have a 20/20 season.
After putting up 23/17 in 2011, I think 20/20 is fully within Gordo’s reach. Especially if he spends most of 2012 at the top of the order.
2. Jonathan Broxton will not finish the season in a Royals uniform.
A one-year free agent deal, coming off an injury riddled season, and pitching in the 7th/8th inning… All recipes for a former closer looking to re-establish his value. Title contenders with closer needs will be all over Broxton come the trade deadline. Now I’m not saying the Royals won’t be in contention though. This will be a crowded bullpen coming out of ST, and this trade will alleviate the roster a bit to give a chance to someone like Kelvin Herrera.
3. Mike Montgomery will make his big league debut before June.
This is probably the biggest guarantee of the predictions. Monty is the Royals’ top pitching prospect, going into his second season at Triple-A Omaha. The Royals rotation stayed remarkably healthy last season, so Mike never really got a shot to move up. Early season injuries or struggles by Paulino or Duffy will undoubtedly lead to his call-up.
4. Billy Butler will finally realize his power potential, hitting at least 25 HRs and driving in at least 100 runs.
Billy Butler and the enigma of the homerun… When a guy is deemed the full-time DH, you expect him to hit along the lines of .275/25/100. Billy will easily hit well over .275, just as he does every season. But he will finally eclipse the 25 HR/100 RBI mark. His power came to life in the second half of 2011, hitting 13 HR an driving in 57 RBI. He’ll continue that hotstreak in 2012.
5. Wil Myers will be a September call-up.
Wil Myers will be 2012′s Lorenzo Cain. He’ll perform very well in Omaha, as will the rest of the team. But the Royals major league OFers will keep him there until September where he’ll get a few AB’s here and there, priming questions of whether or not he’ll replace Frenchy in RF in 2013.
6. Joakim Soria will return to his old self.
He’s ditched the cutter, which he claims he tried to use way too much. Without that cutter, Jack should and will return to his old form as one of the top closers in the league.
7. Salvador Perez will contend for a Gold Glove.
Fresh off his new contract, Sal Perez will have an inspiring season. He’s always been known for his defense, and in his first full season in KC, he’ll show everyone why the Royals locked him up.
8. Lorenzo Cain will move into the leadoff spot at some point during the season.
Cain will start the season somewhere in the 7-8-9 slots in the lineup. But at some point in 2012, Ned Yost will decide that Gordon’s bat truly belongs in the middle of his order. Lorenzo, to me, is the only other logical option for that spot. He’s prototypical: hits for average and occasional power, can work a walk, and will steal 20 or so bases.
9. Ned Yost will be the AL Manager of the Year.
Just like he twice in Milwaukee (2005 and 2007), Ned Yost will win the AL Manager of the Year award. The Royals will be markedly better than they were in previous seasons, thus earning Ned the distinction.
10. The Royals will be in the Wild Card race through September.
Call me crazy, but I really do believe this one is going to happen. The Royals have a top 10 offense, defense, running game, and bullpen. All that’s missing from that list is the starting pitching. If the rotation can come through, there aren’t any reasons to believe KC can’t compete all the way through the season.
What say you, Royals Nation?
I’m not going to claim that there is any science behind my rankings here. I based them off of last year’s performance, their age, injury history, and whether their career is on an upward trend (+), a downward trend (-), or maintaining (=). So with no further ado…
1. Alex Avila – Tigers +
Alex Avila is also on the rise after a breakout year in 2011 which saw him make the All-Star roster. He’s always had great hands behind the plate, but his bat came around in a big way last year.
2. Carlos Santana – Indians +
Carlos Santana is young switch-hitting catcher who hits for power and plays well enough to stick behind the plate. He’ll continue split time at 1B/DH a la Victor Matinex (his idle and mentor), but will start behind the plate most days. Guys with talent along his lines will always be highly coveted.
3. Joe Mauer – Twins =
Joe Mauer has really seen his career take a wrong turn, due to both injury and a power-sapping ballpark. His bat will always be there, but his power seems to be fading along with his ability to stay behind the plate.
4. Salvador Perez – Royals +
Salvador Perez is young, defensively sound, and already has the trust of the Royals’ pitching staff. Even if he hits .250, he’ll be a top 10 catcher for years.
5. A.J. Pierzynski – White Sox -
A.J. is getting old, his arm is deteriorating, and Tyler Flowers will soon replace him in the White Sox lineup.
1. Prine Fielder – Tigers +
Prince is clearly the best 1B in the division. His weight and defense will move him to DH permanently in the somewhat-near future, but his bat is what separates him from the rest of the pack.
2. Paul Konerko – White Sox =
Paul Konerko seems to get better with age, but his time will soon be up. His age will soon push him from the field, though his bat will hold value for at least 2 more years. Until then, Pauly will continue to serve as the White Sox captain.
3. Eric Hosmer – Royals +
Hosmer could the second best 1B on this list right now. He’s already proven that he can compete at the highest level despite only being 22 years old. He hits for power and average and will win a Gold Glove one day.
4. Justin Morneau – Twins -
Justin Morneau might not ever fully recover from his concussion a few years ago. That said, barring a huge 2012, his career appears to be closer to over than in it’s prime.
5. Casey Kotchman – Indians =
Casey Kotchman had a great season with Tampa Bay in 2011, but it only earned him another 1-year deal. He’s known for his premium defense and lack of power for a 1B. He’s destined to platoon 1B this year with either Matt LaPorta or Russ Canzler.
1. Gordon Beckham – White Sox =
Second Base is easily the weakest position within the division. So as the only guy at the position to receive full playing time over the past few seasons with the division is Gordon Beckham. He basically wins by default. He has seen his production dip in each of his three big league seasons so far though since he moved from 3B to 2B.
2. Jason Kipnis – Indians +
Kipnis is a plus hitter and a fairly good defender which he showed all throughout his time in the minors. He got a taste of the bigs last season and should win the starting job in Spring Training.
3. Johnny Giavotella – Royals +
Gio technically hasn’t earned the starting job in Kansas City. But all he has to do is out-hit Chris Getz this spring, which shouldn’t be too daunting of a task considering that’s what Gio does. His defense will be good enough as long as he hits like he did in Triple A in 2011.
4. Ramon Santiago – Tigers =
Ramon Santiago has been a serviceable career switch-hitting backup infielder who will battle Ryan Raburn and Brandon Inge this spring for the starting spot in Detroit.
5. Alexi Casilla – Twins =
Alexi Casilla is yet another 2B within the division who enters ST as the starter, but will have to battle Luke Hughes and Tsuyoshi Nishioka for playing time. He’s a switch-hitter with good speed, but has yet to start or even play for an entire season.
1. Asdrubal Cabrera – Indians +
Asdrubal had a career year in 2011, earning his first All-Star appearance and placing 20th in the AL MVP voting. Known more for his speed and flashy defense, Cabrera showed legitimate power for the first time in his career.
2. Jhonny Peralta – Tigers +
Jhonny Peralta is having a career renaissance since coming to Detroit and being moved over to 3B. But with the signing of Prince Fielder shifting Miggy back to 3B, Peralta is forced to move back to SS. He’s definitely good enough offensively to stick, but his range at short has to improve if the Tigers want to be even average defensively.
3. Alexei Ramirez – White Sox =
At 30 years old, the Cuban Missile keeps on producing. He hits for a respectable average, flashes power, plays solid defense, and has never missed any significant time. Aside from Pual Konerko, he’s the most stable and consistent guy on the White Sox roster.
4. Alcides Escobar – Royals +
Alcides Escobar may be the best defensive SS in the division. He may also be the worst offensive SS in the division, but that’s easy to say when he’s matched up against the likes of Asdrubal, Jhonny, and Alexei. He stepped up his offensive game big time after the All-Star break in 2011. His glove is good enough to be Gold and he’s quick between the bases. If he can hit .265 consistently, he’s a prototypical SS.
5. Jamey Carroll – Twins -
Jamey Carroll has never been “the man” at a position at any time in his career. But the Twins are giving him a chance this year, a year in which he turned 38 years old, to win the everyday job at short. He’ll battle Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Trevor Plouffe for playing time. He’s always had a good eye at the plate and still shows the ability at 38 years old to swipe a base or two when needed. Given his Utility background, his defense is average at best.
1. Miguel Cabrera – Tigers +
Miggy is the best hitter in the division, and arguably in all of baseball. At his current pace, he’s well on his way to a Hall of Fame career. In 2012, he’ll switch back to 3B, the position he played back when he was traded to Detroit. He was moved over to 1B two weeks later for obvious reasons. The question is: Will he be able to effecitvely make the transition back to third without letting it impact his offense?
2. Mike Moustakas – Royals +
Moose has the highest potential of any 3B in the AL Central apart from Miguel Cabrera. He struggled for most of 2011 in KC, but found his stroke in the last few months of the season. As he gets more acclimated to big league pitching, his power will really begin to show.
3. Danny Valencia – Twins +
Danny is a solid everyday major league 3B. His offense won’t wow you and neither will his defense. He’ll always be a middle of the pack guy in my opinion. 2011 was his first full season in Minnesota, so it’s reasonable to expect his performance to improve.
4. Brent Morel – White Sox +
Like Valenica, 2011 was Morel’s first full big league season. His offense hasn’t been anything to brag about, as he is known more for his defense. He’ll continue to hit in the bottom third for the White Sox in 2012 barring a miracle offensive breakthrough.
5. Jack Hannahan – Indians =
Jack Hannahan is a prototypical bench guy. He’s a light-hitting, solid defensive 3B/1B who should be a late-inning defensive replacement. He got significant playing time with the Tribe in 2011. But 2012 should be different. Although he’s listed as the starter on the current depth chart, he’ll be battling top prospect Lonnie Chisenhall. I fully expect Chisenhall to win that battle this spring and Hannahan to return to the bench.
1. Alex Gordon – Royals +
Gordon has always had the potential to be great, and in 2011 he finally proved that he could be. Alex was arguably the most valuable guy on the royals roster last season. He set career highs in almost every category, lead the league in OF Assists, and won his first Gold Glove. So it’s safe to say that the position switch went well for him.
2. Delmon Young – Tigers =
For a while, it seemed like Delmon Young was finally realizing his true potential in Minnesota before being trade to the Tigers last season. He seems to have lost his way at the plate, seeing his power numbers take a big dip. He also seems to have lost a step or two in the field, as he appears to be visibly slower in the field and on the bases. But he’s only 26, so he has plenty of time and talent to right the ship.
3. Dayan Viciedo – White Sox +
Viciedo is a legitimate power hitter in the mold of Miguel Cabrera. He’s a short, stocky hitter who will mash the ball at the big league level. His defense will probably never come around, but his bat will be good enough to find him a position. He’s played both LF and RF as well as 1B and 3B. His future may be as a full-time DH.
4. Michael Brantley – Indians +
Michael Brantley is an interesting player. He’s a guy who has been called upon mostly to replace the oft-injured Grady Sizemore and Shin Soo Choo until last season, where he proved he was capable of taking over the everyday job in left. He possesses good speed and a little bit of pop and is good enough defensively to be an everyday CF, which is where he’ll begin 2012 due to Grady Sizemore’s back issues.
5. Ben Revere – Twins +
Ben Revere is another young guy who earned his initial playing time due to an injury (Denard Span). Although he’s primarily a center fielder, a healthy Span means Revere will get most of his playing time in left. He should be a great leadoff hitter for the Twins in the years to come and he’ll always be one of the quickest guys on the field.
1. Austin Jackson – Tigers +
Austin Jackson may be the best overall athlete in the division. He can hit for average and a little bit of power, which should come with experience. He strikes out a ton, which right now puts a hamper on his ability to be a leadoff hitter, which is where he belongs. He’s a great defensive center fielder and will probably earn a Gold Glove or two before his career is over.
2. Grady Sizemore – Indians -
If he could stay healthy, Grady Sizemore could be one of the best players in baseball. He has it all: a good eye, power, speed, a Gold Glove, and iron guts. But if his body keeps him from displaying his skills, he may never get to show off his full potential.
3. Denard Span – Twins +
Despite an injury-riddled 2011, Span is still a solid outfielder. He and Ben Revere are essentially the same player, although Span’s bat has a little more pop. Great defense, good speed. He’s a quality leadoff guy. If he can stay healthy, he should be a key player for the Twins.
4. Lorenzo Cain – Royals +
If it weren’t for the career years by Alex Gordon, Melky Cabrera, and Jeff Francoeur, Lorenzo Cain would have been in the lineup everyday for the Royals in 2011. He’s a great athlete who plays terrific defense and has shown he can be solid at the dish. Right now, he’s the biggest question mark in the KC lineup.
5. Alejandro de Aza – White Sox =
Alejandro de Aza is relatively unknown at this point in his career. He’s been around the league a while, serving primarily as a backup OFer capable of playing all three positions well. He is capable of hitting well and has a good eye at the plate, but lacks average power. He could wind up as either their starting CF or LF, depending on who wins the battle between him and super-sub Brent Lillibridge.
1. Jeff Francoeur – Royals +
Like the other two Royals outfielders in 2011, Jeff Francoeur revitalized his career. He’ll always be a hacker at the plate and will never take as many walks as he should, but Frenchy seemed to figure out how to be successful in spite of those parts of his game last season. He has one hell of an arm (just ask Michael Taylor of the A’s) and plays surprisingly good defense (just ask Dustin Ackley of the Mariners). Here’s to hoping Frenchy’s 20/20 season was no fluke.
2. Shin Soo Choo – Indians =
You may argue that Choo should be at the top of the RF rankings, and you’d probably be right and completely justified. Choo missed almost half of the 2011 season due to multiple injuries, but before those injuries his season was a far cry from his 20/20 season in 2010. He has 30/30 potential and possesses one of the better outfield arms in baseball.
3. Josh Willingham – Twins =
Josh Willingham should be the equivalent to Jason Kubel in Minnesota. His average will hover around .250-.260 and his defense could use some improvement, but he’s the thumper that you want in the top half of your lineup. And given the losses of Kubel and Cuddyer and the injuries to Morneau and Mauer, he may be the only Twinkie who hits 20+ HR in 2012.
4. Alex Rios – White Sox -
Rios had a terrific season for the Pale Hose in 2010, but a forgettable 2011. Alex used to be one of the premier up-and-comers in baseball before coming to Chicago. He saw his plate prowess take an enormous hit and his power numbers dwindle. At 31 years old, Rios appears to be on the wrong side of his career arc.
5. Brennan Boesch – Tigers +
Brennan Boesch is one of the better unknown or un-thought of hitters in the AL. He has shown he can hit for average and power (of both gap and HR variety) while maintaining the ability to get on base. His defense and speed are average at best, but his bat is his key. I can see him as Nelson Cruz-type hitter in the coming years.
1. Billy Butler – Royals +
Country Breakfast is arguably the best DH in baseball today. Most people forget that he’s only 25 since he’s been in KC for the better part of four years. He’s always been a solid gap-hitter (evidence by three stright 40+ doubles campaigns), but fans and coaches alike are waiting for his power to really surface. He’s shown up to ST in better shape, hoping to earn some reps during the season at 1B. But no matter the outcome of that, his bat will be a mainstay in the Royals’ lineup.
2. Travis Hafner – Indians -
Pronk hasn’t been able to play a full season since 2007, back when he was one of the most feared hitters in the league. But when healthy, Pronk can still deliver the long ball, especially against righties. But his key, especially at 34, is to stay healthy. He holds no defensive value, so he has to hit to keep his job.
3. Adam Dunn – White Sox -
The Big Donkey had the worst year of his career in 2011, and possibly one of the worst offensive seasons in MLB history. Now we all know about Adam Dunn. He is a “Three True Outcomes” kind of hitter, meaning he’ll mostly either hit a home run, strikeout, or take a walk. At his size, and given Paul Konerko, Dunn will probably serve as a DH for the rest of his career. But in order to do so, he has to be able to stay way above the fabled Mendoza line.
4. Ryan Doumit – Twins =
Ryan Doumit has always been an offense-first catcher, a quality that typically doesn’t last too long in the majors. But as a backup catcher, 1B, RF, DH, Doumit has real value. He could be one of the more interesting players in the Twins’ lineup this season.
5. Ryan Raburn – Tigers =
The DH position is going to be a revolving door for Detroit for the foreseeable future, given the presence of Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fiedler, and Victor Martinez. But with V-Mart out for the season, the job may fall mostly into the hands of Ryan Raburn, who will also be battling for the 2B job. Raburn has power, but not much plate discipline. So the DH spot in their lineup may just go to whoever has the hot hand at the time.
*Seriously, I love that the big 3 DH’s in this division have some of the best nicknames in the league. That’s just awesome.*
1. Justin Verlander – Tigers +
Two no-hitters. An AL MVP award. Need I say more?
2. Ubaldo Jimenez – Indians =
Ubaldo Jimenez has all the tools to be a truly dominant pitcher, including a fastball that sits in the upper 90′s. He managed to out it all together back in 2009 and 2010, but seemed to struggle for both the Rockies and Indians last season. He’s still young, projectable, and has ace upside.
3. John Danks – White Sox +
Danks, too, had a rough go of it in 2011, especially at the beginning of the season through the end of May, where he went 0-8 in 11 starts. He rebounded to finish the season respectfully, however. The White Sox gave Danks a large extension this offseason, showing that they believe in his upside. He is easily the best left-handed starter in the division.
4. Carl Pavano – Twins -
Carl Pavano has enjoyed late-career success with the Twins, and is truly the leader of their pitching staff. He hasn’t missed a single start over the past two seasons, showing that his Yankee injuries are behind him. At 36, Carl likely only has a few years of pitching left in him. But his mustache seems to have brought some virility to the veteran.
5. Luke Hochevar – Royals =
As a former number one overall pick, Luke should be higher on this list. He’s struggled mightily up until after the All-Star break last season, where he posted a winning record, a decent ERA, and one of the best ground ball rates in the league thanks to a quality sinker. Luke needs to keep up what he started last year if he wants to keep his place in the Royals’ rotation though.
1. Jose Valverde – Tigers +
Papa Grande was the best closer in baseball in 2011, converting 100% of his save opportunities on his way to winning the MLB Delivery Man of the Year award. So with Verlander starting games and Valverde finishing them, the Tigers have the perhaps best starter-closer combo in the MLB.
2. Joakim Soria – Royals +
Joakim the Dream had his worst season to date last year due to a cutter that just wouldn’t cut. He set career worsts in blown saves and ERA, and even lost his closing role for a week in June. Soria rebounded to finish the year in typical fashion, however, leaving little doubt to his role with the team in 2012. He still has the potential to be the best closer in Royals history and could be even better than that.
3. Chris Perez – Indians +
Chris Perez has become a filthy closer for Cleveland after solidifying the role in mid-2010. He earned himself his first All-Star invite in 2011 and handled left-handed hitters even better than righties. The Tribe has formed a formidable bullpen, and Perez is right at the hear of it all.
4. Matt Capps – Twins -
As a set-up man, Capps has been solid. He even had a good season as a closer when he split a season between the Nationals and the Twins, earning him a spot on the All-Star team. He filled in for an injured Joe Nathan upon becoming a Twin, but never could win the job away from him, converting only 15 of 24 save opportunities in 2011. He enters 2012 as the de facto closer for Minnesota, but will have to be better than he was last season.
5. Addison Reed – White Sox +
Addison Reed made his major league debut last season, appearing in six games and finishing two of them. He’s been rated as one of the top 100 prospects by Baseball America and projects to be the White Sox’ closer of the future. Given they have no other real formidable options at the position, Reed has the best shot of earning the job this spring.
According to their official Twitter account, the Royals have agreed to extend 21 year old catcher Salvador Perez through the 2019 season. The deal guarantees him $7 million over the life of the contract, but he could earn as much as $26.75 million if he maxes out all of the deal’s incentives and the Royals pick up all three of their options.
This definitely was a shock to me, as I’m sure it was to the rest of you. I was expecting the Royals to extend one or both of Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer. Both deserving, and both had shown they can produce over a full big league season. So, needless to say, this was a surprise. Pleasant, yet unexpected.
In 39 games with the Royals last season, Perez produced an impressive slash line of .331/.361/.473 while flashing a little bit of pop (8 2B, 3 HR, 21 RBI). But it’s Perez’s defensive ability that brought him to the bigs last season, and it might be the main reason he got this extension.
In 5 minor league seasons, Perez has caught an astonishing 42% of would be base stealers. Those numbers didn’t show up to that degree last season in KC (21% CS). But his quick catch-and-release ability can not be taken for granted. Once he gets a complete handle on the big leagues, he’ll be one of the most feared defensive catchers in all of baseball. And if his offense sticks around like it has in the minors (.285/.328/.397), think Sandy Alomar, Jr.