With all the suspense of watching tape-delayed Olympics at night after hearing the results all day, any uncertainty of who will start in the Kansas City Royals pitching rotation has been reduced to a yawner.
Only the fifth spot is up for grabs. A bushel-full of arms are vying for the end of the rotation spot. You know, the one that gets skipped every now and then in rotation depending on off days and rest?
No, it’s not the middle podium of starting spots. Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy, Luke Hochevar and Wade Davis are the front runners.
But anyone who thinks Davis or Hochevar aren’t more valuable in the pen, or rather have proven their inability to perform in the rotation, has had one too many snowboarding accidents without a helmet.
The fifth spot is down to Ventura and Duffy. One will be in Kansas City. One will be in Omaha. The one in Omaha will start every 5 days and be ready to jump in when the one, or anyone, in Kansas City falters.
I’m as sure of that as I am sure my mother disapproves of the short, revealing outfits the women figure skaters wear during the Olympics.
So, with all the suspense taken out of Spring Training, perhaps a look ahead to the 2015 rotation would generate more excitement and guess work?
Uh, no. Sorry. The 2015 rotation is already set.
Unlike this year’s rotation, there won’t be any spots up for grabs in next year’s rotation. Ventura, Danny Duffy, Jeremy Guthrie, Jason Vargas and Kyle Zimmer are locks. And all five of those are locked up past 2015, including Guthrie if the Royals exercise a $10 million option for 2016. How amazing is it that Royals general manger Dayton Moore has rotation certainty for several years to come?
Three home-grown talents and two free agents.
James Shields is gone. Enjoy him while he’s here. After this year, he will want 6 or so years in the neighborhood of $150 gajillion. That’s not how the Royals can or will play this game.
Luke Hochevar will be a free agent. After another, hopefully, successful year in the bullpen he will be even more pricey and even more entrenched as a reliever. Even if the Royals somehow pull a “Bruce Chen” and sign Hochevar to a year contract for 2015, he won’t start again.
Wade Davis will still be under contract. He could…oh, no, no, no. I’d rather be Nancy Kerrigan getting hit on the knee by Tanya Harding’s thug than endure Davis starting again.
The Royals could chase 2015 free agents such as Wandy Rodriguez or Homer Bailey. Time will tell, however. Ventura and Zimmer look like the real deal. Duffy and hope go hand in hand. And Vargas should be Steady Eddie. So why not? It’ s about time the Royals cultivated some pitching of their own and had some luck in free agency. They’re more due for luck that a Jamaican bobsled team.
Need some more home-grown talent that can fill a rotation spot in 2015? How about these true-Blue talents: Aaron Crow, Chris Dwyer and Donnie Joseph.
When James Shields bids adieu at the end of 2014 and clears $13.5 million in payroll, the free agent targets in the Royals sights will be the ones who swing bats, not hurl rawhide.
When is the last time the Royals have been in this position? Certainly well before they relied on the likes of guys named Runelvys Hernandez, Kyle Snyder and Kyle Davies.
Are you ready to award at least the silver to Dayton Moore?