It has been quite the busy June 30th for the Kansas City Royals in terms of roster changes. First, Raul Ibanez was signed to a major league contract after being released by the Los Angeles Angels. Then, the Royals called up 2010 first round pick Christian Colon. To make room for both players, the Royals designated Justin Maxwell and Pedro Ciriaco for assignment.
Colon, who is in the majors for the first time, is likely to take over as the Royals utility infielder. During his time in Omaha this season, Colon had posted a .296/.360/.384 batting line with four home runs while walking more than he has struck out. In his approximately season and a half overall for the Storm Chasers, Colon has posted a .284/.346/.386 batting line and 17 home runs. While Colon is not likely to be the answer as the power hitter the Royals seek, he has played second, third and short fairly well, and could be a valuable piece off the bench.
Ibanez played for the Royals over a decade ago, manning the outfield from 2001 through 2003. During that time, he produced a .291/.347/.492 batting line with 55 home runs as he alternated between left, right, first base and designated hitter. Ibanez also left an impression with his leadership and how he was in the clubhouse, not just with his statistics. While he struggled with the Angels, producing a meager .157/.258/.265 batting line with three home runs, Moore still admires what Ibanez could bring to the table.
It could be that Moore senses trouble in the clubhouse, and feels that the stabilizing, veteran leadership that the 42 year old Raul Ibanez can bring to the table is needed to alleviate those difficulties. Or, as is more likely, Moore feels that there may still be some thunder left in Ibanez’s bat, and that he could fill in as a power threat off the bench. If nothing else, Ibanez is a lottery ticket that Moore did not invest much into, yet could have a high return if he has anything left in the tank.
Are Raul Ibanez and Christian Colon the pieces that the Royals need to build towards a playoff push? Maybe not, but the Royals are determined to find out.