June 20, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres shortstop Pedro Ciriaco (3) turns a double play ahead of the slide by Los Angeles Dodgers pinch hitter Jerry Hairston Jr. (6) during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park. The Padres won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
On Tuesday afternoon, the Royals announced that they had claimed shortstop Pedro Ciriaco off waivers from the Padres. Ciriaco had spent a month with the Padres after the Red Sox traded him to San Diego for cash. The Padres designated him for assignment on June 12 when Jedd Gyorko and Yonder Alonso came off the disabled list.
He’s now on the 40 man roster, but he’ll be added to the 25 man active roster once a move in announced to make room. Bob Dutton reported that “initial indications” are that Ciriaco is going to be a bench player and will provide depth. He had a decent season in Boston in 2012 and hit .293/.315/.390 and stole 16 bases, but his 2013 hasn’t been very good. He’s hitting just .228/.288/.342 but does have eight steals.
The Royals don’t have to make a move to place him on the roster until Friday when teams return from the All-Star break, but there could be a number of options. They may resume the Elliot Johnson/Miguel Tejada carousel at second base and have Ciriaco play a utility role. There could be a trade in the works to send Tejada somewhere on the lookout for a veteran presence. Johnson could be designated for assignment. Johnny Giavotella could be optioned to Omaha after 10 games in the majors in 2013. The Royals could simply be making a claim just in case something opens up and if not, they may toss him back out on waivers and see if he clears and can be stashed in the minors. Maybe a player is hurt (or “hurt”) and will go on the disabled list. Plenty of speculation; not a lot of details yet.
With Giavotella, Johnson, and Tejada in the big leagues already and Irving Falu, Anthony Seratelli, Christian Colon, and Chris Getz in Omaha, I’m not sure the Royals are hurting for replacement level infielders, so it’s a strange pickup. Some see him as a nice depth player, while others see his 2012 as nothing more than a tease. Ned Yost talked up his speed and versatility, all attributes that Elliot Johnson brings to the table. Johnson is hitting .210/.248/.283 and has struck out in 27.2% of his plate appearances. Since Ciriaco’s speed and middle infield versatility are similar to Johnson’s, I think that’s the most likely swap, but I wouldn’t put it past the Royals to do anything by the time they return to the K.