With Wednesday’s signing of reliever Jonathan Broxton, the Royals have elected to designate former 2nd-round pick and upside-lottery ticket Jeff Bianchi for assignment, removing him from the 40-man roster.
Drafted with the intent of someday being the shortstop of the future for the organization, Bianchi’s career could never fully get started as numerous injuries derailed any progress he was making, and took away his one real chance of making the majors two years ago.
In 2009 Bianchi batted .315 with a .356 on-base percentage over Single-A and Double-A, putting him in line for a possible spot on the big league roster entering the 2010 season, or at the very least a promotion to Triple-A and being the next in line to play shortstop. All of that was cut short when it was announced he would undergo Tommy John surgery, and miss the entire season
The interest of the move at this point though is while the Royals are out looking for middle infield help to back up Alcides Escobar, leaving Bianchi off the 40-man and unprotected, leaves him vulnerable to being selected in this month’s Rule 5 draft. Though Bianchi’s skills at this point wouldn’t scream out as a Dan Uggla type find, a dependable glove with solid contact skills at the plate would make for an intriguing pick-up for a team in need of a 24th or 25th guy on the roster.
From the Royals point of view they obviously didn’t think Bianchi could play shortstop (possibly due to doubts of arm strength) or this move wouldn’t have occurred.
But, you do have to wonder how much the injuries have derailed Bianchi’s career and if being selected in the Rule 5 would even be a possibility at this point. That, and how smart is it for a team currently in search of middle infield help to let go of a cheap option at the position when it’s the same organization that’s been keeping Chris Getz active for so long?