It was a busy day in the Royals front offices, as they have set their minor league rosters and, after some options, have narrowed down their 25 man roster.
That leaves 31 men in big league camp, but five, Salvador Perez, Manuel Pina, Blake Wood, Feilipe Paulino and Joakim Soria, will start the year on the disabled list. Perez, Soria and Pina will be out for extended time, with the two catchers being placed on the 60 man disabled list. Sean O’Sullivan is the only outlier. He’ll start against the White Sox on Friday, then should be placed on waivers with the intention of sending him to Omaha. If he clears he can’t reject the assignment.
Most of the Royals everyday lineup is in place from last year, with the second base and catching jobs still in the air. Humberto Quintero will probably play more than Brayan Pena behind the plate, while no real leader has emerged at second base between Chris Getz and Yuniesky Betancourt. That the Royals expect Betancourt to back up Alcides Escobar at shortstop and Mike Moustakas at third suggests that Getz has the better likelihood to start at second, but the Royals also seem like they really want Yuni there. Jason Bourgeois and Mitch Maier will back up the outfield, with Bourgeois likely to fill a late-inning pinch-running role (and he can hit better than Jarrod Dyson who would otherwise fill that role).
They’ll surround the no-brainer position players like Eric Hosmer.
The pitching rotation was set up when the Royals announced Paulino would start the year on the DL. Bruce Chen leads the staff with Luke Hochevar, Jonathan Sanchez, Luis Mendoza and Danny Duffy set behind him. The bullpen will have three lefties – Everett Teaford, Tim Collins and Jose Mijares – with Aaron Crow, Kelvin Herrera, Greg Holland and Jonathan Broxton finishing it out. Any of the four could be the team’s closer, but its likely to be either Broxton or Holland.
The Royals end up with a few players in Triple A who could fill in at the major league level if necessary. Clint Robinson, David Lough, Mike Montgomery, Coleman and Jeffress, Dyson, Irving Falu and, of course, Johnny Giavotella, could all fill in in case of injury, and, Giavotella, Montgomery and Coleman could push others on the big league roster.