July 21, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Seattle Mariners left fielder Carlos Peguero (4) hits a single in the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Seattle Mariners defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at the Kansas City Royals Strange Depth

Sep 8, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher Bruce Chen (52) delivers a pitch against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Typically, there is not such thing as too much depth – just ask the New York Yankees last season. They cycled through third basemen at an unbelievable rate, as seemingly whoever they placed in the lineup would get injured. It is always better to have players that can step in should injuries arise, especially if those players can perform with a minimal dropoff in performance. While it is impossible to replace a star with a player on the bench, it certainly helps knowing that the bench option can be relied upon should the need arise.

Yet, despite the old axiom that there is no such thing as too much depth, the Royals have actually manage to acquire too much depth at several positions. With the recent acquisitions of Bruce Chen and Carlos Peguero, the Royals now find themselves with three pitchers that would be viable options for the long relief/spot starter/fifth starter role and seven outfielders. If Emilio Bonifacio is counted, since he can play all over the outfield, the Royals have eight outfielders fighting for positions.

It is certainly fair to wonder why these moves have been made. Chen, Wade Davis and Luke Hochevar all make roughly the same amount, all three falling within approximately $1 Million of each other. Peguero has an excellent track record of hitting for power in the minors, slugging 137 home runs during his minor league career. However, his major league numbers are brutal, aside from his nine home runs. Peguero’s .195/.242/.380 batting line and proclivity for striking out certainly seem to be the antithesis of how the 2014 roster has been constructed.

These moves would make it seem as though there are other moves in the works. Why spend $13 Million on three pitchers that fill the same role unless one of them is going to be moved? Why bring in another potential bench outfielder unless some of the outfield depth is going to be traded away? Why amass so much depth in places where it is not really needed?

Perhaps Dayton Moore is concocting some Machiavellian scheme where he will force the rest of the baseball world to pay a king’s ransom to acquire fifth starters or fourth outfielders. Those designs that other teams had where they could pluck a pitcher like Chen for virtually nothing? A thing of the past! BWAA HAA HAA!!!

As much fun as it is to think of Moore sitting in his office doing his best Dr. Evil impression, it is far more likely that the Royals have already begun the groundwork of another deal, moving some of those surplus players for prospects or just to free up more salary. It could be that, while the last few days have been fairly busy for the Royals, another move may be coming soon. For all the depth that the Royals have acquired, they are still missing an impact player to help aid the push towards the postseason.

It is difficult to picture a team as having too much depth. However, at least in terms of fourth outfielders and long relief pitchers, the Royals have managed to compile exactly that.

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  • grantastica

    Exactly what I thought when they signed Chen yesterday, a day after trading for Peguero. I smell a package of Hoch, Maxwell, prospects, for GMDM only knows what.

  • jimfetterolf

    Chen and Davis/Hochevar aren’t really analogous pitchers, as Luke and Wade are both set-up quality arms, as well as being able to deliver the multi-inning stretch and spot start with the chance to dominate a single game. Chen is a lefty, swingman, but not someone you bring in late to get the game to Holland or to replace Holland if he gets hurt. All three have uses. Of the three, Luke may be most likely to get traded, which is one reason to have him start some games early so he can be traded as a starter. We see what reclamation projects are signing for and Luke isn’t hurt.

    On the outfield, no doubt moves get made because the first five lack options and there’s little depth at Omaha. That’s makes Bonifacio valuable, he is the 5th OF as well as UIF, rare versatility needed given Cain’s brittleness.

    Peguero? No clue. Maybe they think they can fix him and see him as OF/DH? May just be depth and someone to fill the roster at Omaha.

    Dayton Moore? Yeah, there’ll be moves. Too many 4A players and most of the depth is already on the roster. Either Maxwell or Dyson will be traded, probably Giavotella, a couple of minor league relievers, maybe Billy to free up DH for position players.

    • Royals_Fan

      I agree that out of all the players the Royals have, come ASB Hoch and Butler might be on the trading block. I think Dyson might be on his last leg to because what I’ve read about Peguero is he’s got speed and power against lefties. If they can get him to make solid contact against righties he’d be a huge signing. Dyson is very fast, but lacks the power Peguero and Maxwell have.

      I think the Royals know Shields is going to be gone after this year so they are going to trade for someone to take his spot instead of a hope and a prayer that Zimmer is ready. Next year we could have Guthrie, Vargas, Ventura and Duffy as starters. They need that for sure ace SP now. Maybe Duffy or Ventura turn into that but signing a solid #2 or ace at the ASB or Winter Meetings is a high priority, I think. Butler could be the highest trade value player we have depending on his year.

      • jimfetterolf

        The problem with trading for a #1 is the cost and would require basically a future #1 plus good prospects. And signing one takes stupid money and years, which is why we had to trade for Shields, Santana, and Guthrie while Vargas is the best FA signing we’ve managed for several years. I think when Shields leaves we play with what we have. If we traded for Shields today it would take Ventura and probably Mondezi and maybe Cuthbert for two years of Shields, then we’ld have to do it again because we traded Ventura. I think it’s time to start relying on what we have and any trades should be veterans for prospects so we can reload in a few years.

        Peguero is at least interesting, looks like a left handed DH in a platoon if he could make contact. At the moment I see him as depth and assume maybe the hitting coach thinks he can fix him. Kind of a Max Ramirez at Omaha. And Peguero is said to be an adequate left fielder with “surprising speed” for a big man. A lottery ticket.

  • Dave Lowe

    Nice article.

  • willimroberts

    I think Bonifacio will be traded…DM has Ciriaco and Colon to backup the infield and the Dodgers could use a player like Bonifacio.

  • Chad Woelk

    Not sure why everyone thinks we will not re-sign Shields. If the Royals make the post season I think Glass and Dayton would find a way to keep him esp when he has stated he would be open to a long term extension. But then again, this is the Royals who love to stock pile massive amounts of number 4 and 5 starting pitchers and pretend that they can be 2′s and 3′s.

  • Justin Jay

    Well… minus 1 now that Emilio is gone… bet you didn’t see that one coming, did ya? DID YA?!

    • Dave Hill

      I don’t think anyone did.