At the conclusion of today’s final spring training game, the Royals announced their 25-man roster to open the season.
There were a few surprises, though not big ones. The Royals open camp with four rookie relief pitchers: Tim Collins, Aaron Crow, Jeremy Jeffress and Rule 5 selection Nate Adcock. When Robert Fish was sent back to the Angels, it left Collins as the lone lefty reliever in camp while Crow’s promotion has been debated as a good move or not. It seems split between those who see him as a starter and think he should open up in the rotation in Double A or Triple A and those who see him as a full-time late-inning pitcher.
Then there are those who see him as a potential rotation candidate down the line while getting bullpen work to acclimate himself to the big leagues. Crow struggled in 2009, but showed solid command in Arizona and in today’s game induced three ground ball outs in a perfect seventh inning.
Jeffress has struggled but has the most electric arm on the roster. With a triple-digit fastball, he can strike batters out. The issue will be control. His curveball can be amazing – when he commands it.
Nate Adcock makes the team as a Rule 5 pick after a solid spring. He’ll debut with no experience above High A, so who knows how that will work out. If he struggles, the Royals have plenty of arms in reserve who are going to Omaha.
Among those are Louis Coleman and Luis Mendoza. Both probably pitched well enough to make the team out of camp, but as non-roster invitees, a corresponding move would have been necessary to get them on the roster (Crow, Jeffress and Adcock were already on the 40 man roster). Coleman will be Omaha’s closer to gain experience in pressure situations.
The other position battle was settled as well, as Jarrod Dyson will make the team as a fifth outfielder. It came down to Dyson and Gregor Blanco, who hasn’t been assigned but I’ve seen mentions that he’s on waivers, though I haven’t heard an official announcement yet. He and Luke May were left off the roster and, with no options remaining, have to either be traded or clear waivers to be assigned to the minors.
We hadn’t mentioned it here yet, but the Royals acquired Matt Treanor from the Rangers for cash the other day, so he’ll take over for May on the big league roster. The plan is for he and Brayan Pena to switch off according to who’s starting. Treanor, with more experience, will take the young right-handed starters while Pena gets the veteran lefties Bruce Chen and Jeff Francis. Jason Kendall will start the year on the DL.
Vin Mazzaro, in case you were wondering, will be the team’s fifth starter, but was optioned to Omaha since off days allow the Royals to put out a four man rotation for the first couple weeks of the season. Once his turn comes up, someone will have to be sent down.
The Final Roster:
Catchers: Matt Treanor and Brayan Peña.
Disabled List: Jason Kendall (15 day), Henry Barrerra (60 day)