Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Luke Hochevar (44) throws a pitch at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Searching for Answers

As we are nearing opening day, a few things should start to clear up.  There are some pieces to the puzzle the Royals still have to figure out, and it’s becoming a guessing game for their fans to try and solve as well.  One thing that is certain, is Yuniesky Betancourt and Chris Getz will be platooning at second base to start the season.  This makes me question so many things, and the move has left a sour taste in the mouths of Royals diehards on Twitter .  In no way can this work in the Royals favor.  But I digress, there’s still many other questions to answer.  Who will be the lefty out of the bullpen?  Who will be the number four and five to fill out the rotation?  Also, who will be the next Royals closer in the wake of Joakim Soria needing his second Tommy John surgery?

Jose Mijares, Tim Collins, Everett Teaford, and Tommy Hottovy are all in the race to be the left-handed reliever out of the pen.  Three out of four of these pitchers have spotless ERAs and Collins has still managed a miniscule 1.08 ERA, at this time.  I think Mijares is the lead dog of the pack simply because he was brought in to be the go-to lefty.  Although, the other three guys are making their cases to start the year on the opening day roster as well.  It does seem possible to me, that two of these four could make the team but I would definitely say no more than that.

I don’t know about all of you, but I have been less than impressed by what I’ve seen out of the starters so far this spring.  I want to clarify that I’m aware the Royals aren’t anywhere near the Phillies or Angels in terms of starting pitching, but I was hoping they would be above adequate this spring.  Luke Hochevar and Luis Mendoza are the only two guys who have pitched extremely well and there is no guarantee Mendoza even makes the team as a starter.  Bruce Chen, Jonathan Sanchez, Danny Duffy, and Felipe Paulino have all underperformed this spring and aren’t doing much to claim their spots in the rotation.  I know not much weight should be put into spring training stats, but the fact that Chen has given up 27 hits in 12 innings is very disheartening.  It would be nice if a few of these guys pitched like they wanted the job.  That being said, Paulino is pitching his way out and Mendoza is pitching his way into the rotation.  I believe Duffy will start out in the rotation and am looking for Sanchez and Chen to bounce back after very rough springs.  I do not think there is room for Paulino, Duffy, or Mendoza out of the bullpen, if that question comes up, as there is an abundance of arms already out there now.

The starting pitching has been a question mark all off season, but one thing we thought was certain, was the closer’s role.  With the news that Joakim Soria will undergo his second Tommy John surgery, the question remains, who will fill his shoes?  I say  Greg Holland, Aaron Crow, and Jonathan Broxton, in that order.  Holland has the dominating stuff and one of the best sliders in the game, so I feel extremely confident with him in the 9th.  Crow was bestowed upon as the closer for a short amount of time last season and Broxton is coming off some elbow issues but is still capable of returning to his former All-Star self.  I would be okay with any of these relievers, but I’m personally pulling for Holland.

We only have a few more weeks, if not sooner, before we get some of the answers to these questions.  Whatever happens though, I’m sure it will make for some great conversations and playful banter.  Either way, Opening Day is less than two weeks away!

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Tags: Aaron Crow AL Central Baseball Bruce Chen Chris Getz Danny Duffy Everett Teaford Joakim Soria Jose Mijares Kansas City Royals KC KC Royals Luis Mendoza Luke Hochevar MLB Royals Tim Collins Yuniesky Betancourt

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