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
Coming into Spring Training this year, the Royals were pretty much set at every position, with a few exceptions: 2B, CF, #4 and #5 starters, and LH relievers. That may seem like a lot of positions to have uncertainty at, but a lot of them are truly position battles. In the darker days of this franchise, it used to be there was one clear-cut favorite for a position. And no matter how he did, all he had to do was basically show up every day and the job was his. The Royals have some legitimate position battles going on this Spring, and within these battles there is always at least one dark horse.
If Salvador Perez hadn’t torn his left meniscus the other day, there wouldn’t be any questions as to who the two catchers on the roster would be coming out of camp. But now that it’s looking like Sal could be out until at least mid-June or later, a few new names have come up as the potential #2 to Brayan Pena.
Cody Clark – 30
At 30 years young, Cody Clark is hardly a young up-and-comer. He’s spent the last 2 seasons at Triple A Omaha, primarily as the backup catcher. He isn’t a great hitter, but his numbers are pretty much what you’d expect from a catcher (career .254/.320/.394). And although his arm isn’t much to brag about (33% career caught stealing), his glove is major league quality (career .992 Fld%), never committing more than 6 E in one season.
He is making his first start of the Spring today against Cleveland, ahead of Max Ramirez.
Max Ramirez – 27
Max Ramirez is an offensive-first catcher, period. Once a top catching prospect for the Rangers, Max has done nothing but hit during his 8 seasons in the minors, with a line of .295/.389/.478 with 85 HR and 146 2B. His glove is average at best, and his arm is less than stellar (27% CS).
With Brayan Pena already on the roster, having two mostly offensive catchers might not make much sense. But if Max keeps hitting like he has been this Spring (7 for 15, 3 HR, 9 RBI) it’d be hard not to bring him on board.
Kevin Kouzmanoff – 30
Kouz has been playing well this Spring, going 3 for 10 in 7 games played, including a walk-off double. He’s always had the ability to hit if given the chance. But the real reasons he’s here are the fact that he’s a vacuum over at 3B, and he’s a right-handed hitting alternative to Mike Moustakas against tough lefties.
If the Royals keep Johnny Giavotella and Yuni Betancourt (thus sending Chris Getz to Triple A), Kouz has a real shot at breaking camp with the Royals as the backup corner infielder.
Clint Robinson – 27
He may be a AAAA player, but right now he’s just a guy who’s never gotten a real chance to show his stuff. Clint profiles as a DH/1B, mostly due to his size (6’5″ 235) and raw power. He won the hitter’s triple crown in 2010 in Double A(.335/.410/.625 29 HR, 98 RBI, 41 2B, 58:86 BB:K ratio, and almost replicated those numbers again last year in Triple A (.326/.399/.533 23 HR, 100 RBI, 35 2B, 58:86 BB:K ratio). If he had been in almost any other organization, there’s no doubt that Robinson would have made his Major League debut by now. But since he’s been blocked by Billy Butler, Eric Homser, and Kila Ka’aihue, he has yet to see an at-bat in KC.
If he wants to make the team out of Spring, he’ll need to log more innings at one of the corner OF spots and prove he isn’t enough of a defensive liability to offset his bat. He could be a great left-handed power bat coming off the bench for Ned in 2012.
David Lough – 26
Lough does everything right. He hits, runs, and fields well, while occasionally flashing a little bit of power. He’s been compared to David DeJesus, except that he runs much better. He’s already hit 2 triples this Spring, and has logged significant innings at all 3 OF spots. Lough could very well supplant Mitch Maier as the 4th OFer on this roster.
Luis Mendoza RHP – 28
Without a doubt, Luis Mendoza has been the Royals’ most outstanding pitcher this Spring. He’s 3-0 in 10.2 IP with a 0.84 ERA, 11:1 K:BB ratio, .135 AVG against, and 0.56 WHIP. He seemed to get is act together last year in Omaha, and was called up to Kansas City to make two starts in September, going 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA in 14.2 IP.
Mendoza is in an all out brawl with Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino for that 4th or 5th spot in the rotation. At this point, Mendoza is almost a near lock to make the team out of Spring Training. But the question is whether he winds up as a part of the rotation or the bullpen.
Kelvin Herrera RHP – 22
After being converted from a starter to a reliever and pitching at almost every level in the organization last year, Herrera has an outside shot to start the season in KC. He’s got a true power arm, being able to hit the upper-90’s consistently. He currently sports a 1.50 ERA in 6 IP this Spring with 9 K to 2 BB and a .190 AVG against.
It might take an injury to one of Coleman, Holland, or Broxton for Herrera to make the 25-man roster this April, though anything can happen between now and then.
Tommy Hottovy LHP – 30
The hometown kid has been impressive in his short time as a Royal. He hasn’t surrendered a run in 4.2 IP thus far, giving up only 5 hits while striking out 5 and walking 0. Tommy has started games before earlier in his minor league career, though his TJ surgery probably put that part of his career in the rear view. But he is capable of going more than one or two innings.
Yost has stated that he wants more than just one lefty in the bullpen, and Tommy could be that guy given the fact that he could fill a number of bullpen roles (long reliever, middle reliever, situational lefty).
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.
Both Felipe Paulino and Aaron Crow tossed two scoreless innings, with Crow earning the W, before handing the ball off to the bullpen. Paulino got out of both the 1st and 2nd inning with the aid of two double-play groundballs. This was his first appearance in a game this Spring due to a left-hamstring strain he suffered earlier in camp. Crow walked one in the 4th, but erased it by inducing a double-play.
Jose Mijares, Louis Coleman, Brandon Sisk, Tommy Hottovy, and Jeremy Jeffress all threw an inning apiece, with all of them recording a K except for Hottovy, and all of them giving up a hit except for Sisk.
Hottovy is the most interesting potential bullpen possibility. The hometown lefty, just a few years removed from reconstructive-elbow surgery, has transitioned to a sidearm slot, leading Ned Yost to refer to him as a “left-handed Louis Coleman“. He had a stint with Boston last year, so he has big league experience. He’s currently battling with Tim Collins, Jose Mijares, and Everett Teaford for what is presumed to be the two lefty slots in the ‘pen.
Max Ramirez has done it again. He and Yuni both went yard. Yuni’s solo-shot in the 4th off of lefty Josh Outman sparked a 4-run inning. Ramirez had a pinch-hit HR in the top of the 8th, adding one more run to build the lead to 5-0.
The Royals had 10 hits in all, with Yuni and Zo Cain each collecting 2 each. And of the 10 hits, 5 were for extra bases (3 2Bs: Gordon, Butler, Cain. 2HR: Yuni, Ramirez).
Billy Butler got his second start at 1B this Spring, and the Royals were errorless. Just saying.
Here’s the boxscore via NBC Sports
|2B: KC 3, A. Gordon (1), B. Butler (1), L. Cain (3). Col 2, H. Gomez (1), N. Arenado (2).|
|HR: KC 2, Y. Betancourt (1), M. Ramirez (3).|
|Scoring Position: KC – for . Col – for .|
|Caught Stealing: KC 1, L. Cain (1).|
|Attendance – 6,773|