Mar 22, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals right fielder Justin Maxwell (27) runs the bases after hitting a home run against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Maxwell - the Superfluous Kansas City Royal

Feb 24, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals outfielder Justin Maxwell poses for a portrait during photo day at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

When the Kansas City Royals and Ned Yost decided that having a fifth outfielder would be more important than carrying a backup middle infielder or a seventh reliever, it was expected that the player would receive a decent amount of playing time. Although the starting lineup was set, the insistence that Justin Maxwell would be a part of the Opening Day roster made it seem that Maxwell would have a presence in the lineup.

Instead, Maxwell has had a grand total of four at bats this season, making a single start on April 6th. His other appearances came when Yost got all pinch runner happy on April 2nd and as a white flag last night, coming in for Alex Gordon in the seventh inning. Even though it is not even two weeks into the season, Maxwell does not appear as though he truly has a role on the Royals.

So, why keep Justin Maxwell on the roster? In theory, he could be a right handed power bat off the bench, ready to face off against a left handed reliever. However, the Royals already have Danny Valencia for that player. Unless Yost is concerned with needing to pinch hit against a left handed reliever when Valencia is in the lineup, having a second version of Valencia just does not make sense.

Another option would be to have someone to play either corner outfield position, since Jarrod Dyson has only played in center field over his major league career. However, Maxwell is a below average defensive outfield, particularly in either corner outfield position. Meanwhile, both Norichika Aoki and Lorenzo Cain have played all three outfield positions, which would still provide Yost enough flexibility in the outfield to give someone a day off if needed.

At this point, Justin Maxwell’s greatest assets for the Royals may be that Ned Yost loves himself some Justin Maxwell and the grand slam that he hit last year. Maxwell is also out of options, so the thought is that another team may claim him if exposed to waivers. However, his 2013 glory days and the idea that he could be lost are not enough of a reason to keep Maxwell on the roster.

It would be a completely different matter if Justin Maxwell was to receive steady playing time, yet that seems quite unlikely. At this point, Maxwell is nothing more than the superfluous Royal.

Tags: Justin Maxwell Kansas City Royals

  • Ryan Caltrider

    He’s superfluous until Cain gets injured. But that also may not be good enough reason to keep him.

  • jimfetterolf

    It’s a matter of depth, Royals don’t have an ML ready OF in Omaha if Cain gets hurt. A couple of the guys are showing progress, Orlando and Fletcher coming to mind, so might be possible to move Maxwell in a month or two. Personally, I was fine with an eleven man staff given the RP depth and it’s working so far. If Giavotella can hit a little he could be the UIF, so things seem to be working themselves out as infante plays SS and Donald and Colon are a phone call away.

  • moretrouble

    You’re right, Dave … Maxwell isn’t getting enough AB’s. Their starting OF’ers are playing pretty good and Dyson is getting into a game every once in awhile, but there really isn’t room for Maxwell.

    They’re trying to do a jam job on the roster, but every day, something seems to happen. They go short on middle IF’ers and Infante comes up lame. So, the bring Giavotella up and go with 11 pitchers, but they get shelled on Friday, so yesterday they send him back down and go back to 12 pitchers.

    And, why do they do this? To keep Maxwell. It’s impossible to say Yost is keeping him on the roster — you don’t know that for sure, Dave. That’s a guess on your part. But, somebody over there likes him and if I were Maxwell, I’d be very thankful for that one year deal at 1.33 million. He’s playing with house money.

  • Andrew McCanless

    I know this is an older article but I completely disagree. Maxwell has his place on this team as a far superior bat to Dyson. Sure, he isn’t the fielder Dyson is but what this team needs is offense. That being said, I feel Maxwell should pick up some more AB’s at DH in place of the ever so struggling Butler. Maxwell is a great line drive hitter so he won’t hit into a line drive every chance he gets like Butler. I know Maxwell isn’t the permanent answer at DH but I feel he can do better than Butler is currently doing. You can’t fault Maxwell for not making a contribution to the team when Yost is the one not giving him playing time.