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.