Secret to Second Base Success for Kansas City Royals
Nice addition, but not exactly the second baseman we hoped for… Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The trade deadline has come and gone. I didn’t expect the Royals to be sellers, and they weren’t. I did expect them to buy, but they really didn’t. Justin Maxwell could help against lefties. He’s got power (which the team needs) and can play all three outfield positions. Not a bad pickup…but not the type of pickup that I expected, and the kind of pickup that warrants the Royals being labeled as “buyers.”
So now what? The most glaring hole on the team was (and remains) second base. As Mr. Engel pointed out, the Royals were attached to some possible trade targets at that position, with nothing panning out. Many will jump on Dayton Moore for not addressing the issue, but remember this – it takes two to tango. If the other team isn’t willing to deal, it ain’t happening. And in the case of a guy like Howie Kendrick, it sounds like the Angels were asking for a lot. Maybe it’s for the best Moore didn’t overpay for a quick fix and an outside shot at the playoffs. Sometimes the best trade is the one you don’t make. (Still…I admit…I wish they’d done something)
Even with the black hole at second base, the Royals have looked great lately, and have managed to stay pretty competitive all season. The Royals, however, can’t afford to slip at this point, or their chances at a wild card spot go from slim to none. With every position looking pretty set with the exception of second base, what are the options?
Miguel Tejada continues outrunning Father Time. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Of course the first option is to keep spinning the roulette wheel and see if it lands on Chris Getz, Elliot Johnson, or Miguel Tejada. The Chris Getz experiment can be chalked up as a failure at this point. Johnson is better as a defensive sub/pinch runner (yes, I remember what I said before). And of course Miguel Tejada is like 110 years old and spent most of the year playing once or maybe twice a week. Which is why I think it’s time to go all in with the old man now.
Maybe this was the plan all along. They said they saved Bruce Chen’s arm because they knew Luis Mendoza was going to crap out. Maybe they saved Miguel Tejada’s body from too much wear and tear knowing they’d need him in the lineup if the team found themselves knocking on the wild card door in August. Or maybe I’m giving the front office too much credit and Tejada showing he’s still got game is all a happy accident (probably the case). Whatever the case, it’s time to put Getz on the shelf and run Tejada out there 4 or 5 days a week. It appears that’s the plan as Tejada has started 8 of the last 9 games for KC.
Here’s the question though: Can he sustain playing at such a clip? Probably not. He’s probably going to need some time off every week. That means Getz or Johnson has to fill in at least a couple of days a week, right? Not necessarily.
After a hot July, is Colon ready for his shot? Mandatory Credit: Matt Ryerson-USA TODAY Sports
While Miguel Tejada is the obvious answer to the second base riddle, he can’t play every day. The Royals have another option by the name of Christian Colon playing the position in Omaha. Yeah, that Christian Colon. The former first round pick who has been a bust at the plate in the minors. So what makes him a viable option now? His .256/.314/.371 slash line this year isn’t very appealing. His slash line for the month of July, though, is .316/.396/.490 (for an OPS of .886) – pretty impressive, right?
If Getz, who is dinged up, spends a couple of weeks on the DL, a door opens for Colon to become the backup for Tejada. If the kid hits, it’s not only good for the short term, it’s a chance for the Royals to see what they’ve got in Colon, who is now 24 years old. Let him sink or swim. What could it hurt? Chris Getz has pretty much been sinking all year, and I think I can say with a great deal of confidence he’s not going to start swimming any time soon. Colon, on the other hand, just might. I believe Tejada can succeed playing four times a week. But when he needs a breather…well…Colon could very well be the key to success at second base.
At this point, the Royals need to improve by trying something different with what they’ve already got. Maxwell should help a little, but he can’t play second base. Coming up with a viable plan at the keystone could make all the difference in the world. I haven’t given up hope just yet, Dayton, and neither should you. Keep trying new things. Keep trying to improve. And, as Denny Matthews said to me at Fan Fest this year, “Keep hope alive.”