Sep 17, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (35) drives in a run with a double in the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
The real battle for the fifth spot in the rotation will begin after the real season begins. We all know Luke Hochevar is out of the running. Very loud whispers say Yordano Ventura is the guy the team wants in the rotation. Danny Duffy‘s spring, to this point, has been shaky. He’s going to start in AAA. If Duffy then mows down the competition in Omaha, look to see him in that fifth spot by June. Bruce Chen will then be back in the pen. (that flowed like poetry)
This isn’t all bad. Chen is a fine fifth starter. Many were just upset the Royals secured a good fifth starter, when the team has nothing but fourth starters after James Shields. The two guys with top of the rotation potential are Ventura and Duffy. A plan that allows for them to be in the rotation by June is one I can swallow. Chen shouldn’t sink the ship in the meantime.
The Royals have been playing Billy Butler more at first, and moving Danny Valencia around the infield. On its surface, it really does look like Opening Day will see five out fielders and not one true back up middle infielder. Again, this may be the case for the first game of the year, but I really doubt that’s what the roster will look like by June. I suspected Justin Maxwell, bundled with one of the Royals many quality relief pitchers, would net a utility guy. With Luke’s injury, Maxwell for a prospect or two, is more likely. Someone, somewhere will want that right-handed bat. The Royals don’t need to carry five outfielders, but they can hold onto this excess currency a bit longer. It’s their best move right now.
We are going to see more power from this team than we are accustomed too. I know that’s not saying much. This isn’t just the thin, Arizona air talking. Butler is in better shape and a safe bet to hit more dongs than last year’s 15. Most expect Hosmer to continue his maturation. It’s also a good gamble that Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon see their big fly numbers head north. If Moose can contribute 20 plus swats, this team can have more home runs than we have seen since the early 2000s.
The Royals are comfortable presenting an unfinished product for Opening Day. They are not just preparing, but are already calculating key moves and adjustments to their rotation and roster throughout the season. This may end up looking very savvy.
- A fine column has already been posted on Luke Hochevar’s injury, but I want to sound off. How Royals is this situation? We give Dayton Moore plenty of hell for his moves, but he has had a considerable amount of bad luck thrown his way. Luke’s injury is no exception. Not only has Moore’s number one overall draft pick been a bust as a starter, but he will almost certainly need Tommy John surgery right when his value manifests. Some will criticize the Royals for holding on to Luke too long. Some will say he should have been moved by now, and the Royals made their own messy bed. Not this time. Hochevar’s mechanics have never been an issue, and this was not something anyone saw coming. Luke would have been a valuable reliever this year, or excellent trade bate. Bad break for the Royals, and very devastating for Luke. His career is most likely over.
- Ian Kinsler had some very nasty things to say about Texas Ranger GM, Jon Daniels. Ian then showed us that he is just the latest athlete that does not understand what the term, “taken out of context “, means. How did he do this? By claiming he was taken out of context. He seems like an insecure jerk and is back peddling from his remarks, but I am mostly ok with his comments. Isn’t it more interesting and authentic to hear a guy speak his mind, rather than feed us all the same tired clichés? Probably the same reason some of us still love Zack Greinke.