There will be a lot of shuffling over the next few months as every team waives, releases, trades, designates and outrights players in its organization for those players they claim, sign, or trade for. There’s always turnover. The Royals are no exception and recently, they shed a few minor leaguers who now seek another shot at a roster spot with other clubs.
The list contains a few players who have reached Kansas City for their cup of coffee and a few who have only toiled in the minors.
The most notable of the cuts is Jai Miller who spent some time with the Royals in 2010, getting 60 plate appearances and producing a .645 OPS. He got his first major league hit and homerun as a Royal, but in the end, he struck out way too much (24 times in those 60 appearances). He’ll likely be in camp with some team and may even make it as a fifth outfielder, but he’s got a ways to go.
Internet darling Ed Lucas will not return next year either. Lucas had shown versatility and a decent ability to get on base as he came up through the Royals minor league system, but when the Royals claimed Joaquin Arias and Lance Zawadzki last week, Lucas’s fate became apparent. For a while after Kila Ka’aihue was recalled last year, Royals fans on Twitter started a topic of #EmancipateEdLucas to mimic the #FreeKila movement. It obviously didn’t take. Lucas is 28 years old and has over 2600 plate appearances in the minors, accumulating 653 hits and a .763 OPS.
Before there was Twitter, Shane Costa was the favorite of the online community, and after various injuries he was climbing his way back up the ladder. Costa hasn’t seen the big leagues since September of 2007 and made it as high as Triple A in 2008 and made one appearance there in 2009 but spent most of 2010 rehabbing and only made it to Northwest Arkansas. He hit .254/.289/.366/.655 in 154 major league games and 449 plate appearances in Kansas City from 2005 to 2007.
Devon Lowery is gone as well. After a September callup in 2008, Lowery succumbed to arm injuries and missed all of 2009 with shoulder problems. He compiled 25.1 innings in 2010 making his way back through the minors, posting a 3.20 ERA and making 11 appearances in Omaha.
Blake Johnson was acquired by the Royals in 2006 along with Odalis Perez (shudder) and Julio Pimentel (who incidentally re-signed a minor league deal with the Royals) for Elmer Dessens. Johnson’s best ERA was a 3.28 figure in 2007 with Wilmington. He finished 2010 with the Omaha Royals with a 9.72 ERA in 8.1 innings pitched.
Other roster casualties: RHP Jairo Cuevas, IF Scott Thorman, 1B Ernesto Mejia (who found more fame on YouTube than in Double A), 3B Eddie Prasch, SS Chris McConnell and Juan Rivera (who was the player acquired for Angel Berroa).
Professional baseball is a tough vocation, and only the best of the best actually stick around for a while. I won’t fault any of these guys if they don’t give up the dream. It’s not personal. It’s business.
The Royals also re-signed SS Mario Lisson who finished 2010 in Double A after spending some time in Omaha.
We’ll have more updates as they happen and there will be updates. A long offseason awaits.