For a while, it looked like the Royals were done making moves this offseason, but today they added to their busy week by signing two players to minor league deals.
First is right-handed pitcher Blaine Boyer, a third round pick from the 2000 draft by Atlanta. As a big leaguer, he’s made 233 appearances, all in relief, with a 4.81 ERA in 234 innings. He didn’t pitch in 2012, but was last seen in the big leagues with the Mets. He got hit hard in five appearances for them in April 2011 and was released in the middle of the month. Pittsburgh picked him up and had him in Triple A from June 17 until July 5 when they released him. St. Louis took a shot in August and he finished his 2011 in their Triple A rotation. His overall 2011 ERA in the minors was 10.90 after a 10.80 ERA for the Mets.
He’s mostly a fastball pitcher who mixes in his curveball, and occasioinally throws a slider and changeup. The fastball had an average velocity of 93 MPH in 2011 for the Mets and has averaged 93.7 MPH for his career in the majors. He throws hard and has been a groundball pitcher through his career (55% GB rate), so he’s worth a look.
The second player is first baseman Chad Tracy. Not to be confused with the former Diamondbacks (and most recently, Nationals) corner infielder, Tracy is a 27-year-old right-handed hitter who spent 2006 through 2011 in the Rangers organization before the Rockies acquired him before the 2012 season. He’s the son of then-Rockies manager Jim Tracy.
Through seven years in the minors, Tracy has 123 career homers, including two seasons of 26 (2009, 2011). In the friendly confines of Werner Park, he’ll probably hit a few out in Triple A, but he’s not anyone who’s going to push Eric Hosmer or Billy Butler for playing time. If he does make it to the big leagues, he’ll probably be strikeout prone (18% K rate in the minors), so he’s a depth signing only.
Earlier, the Royals had signed Endy Chavez and Miguel Tejada to minor league deals. Only Tejada seems to have much of a shot of getting all the way to Kansas City, barring injuries, and you can count on one hand how many middle infielders can be average contributors at 39 years old, and Tejada never got out of Triple A last year. He’s hitting well and drawing good reviews in the winter leagues, but he’s still got a lot of ground to make up. Long-term, I don’t think the Royals can expect him to do anything this year, but they did reportedly give him $1.1 million and a spot on the 40 man roster, so who knows what they’re thinking right now?
After a lot of turnover from the upper minors (and thus players who were designated for assignment to make space on the 40 man roster) the Royals may keep snagging a few players on minor league deals here and there to fill out their minors league rosters.