With the Kansas City Royals set to welcome back Jason Vargas to the starting rotation, someone was bound to get the axe. The candidates to be sent from the rotation were seemingly obvious, with Jeremy Guthrie and Chris Young considered the frontrunners to be placed into that long relief role. Instead, according to Andy McCullough, the Royals have decided to option Yordano Ventura to Omaha, making room on the roster for Vargas to return.
This move is seemingly quite a surprise. After all, Ventura was just signed to a five year, $24 Million extension earlier this season. He had come through in Game Six of the 2014 World Series, and appeared to be on the cusp of being the next bright young pitching star. However, he has regressed this season, posting a 4-7 record with a 5.19 ERA. This is not what the Royals had envisioned in Year Two of the Ventura Era, especially when he was named as their Opening Day starter and staff ace.
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While Yordano Ventura has had moments of success this season, that has not been the case as of late. Since his excellent outing on May 31, when he allowed one run on four hits and a walk, striking out six, Ventura has failed to last more than five innings. While he did miss time due to his hand injury, Ventura has allowed a total of 15 runs on 24 hits and seven walks in his last 15 innings pitched. Something needed to be done.
Even though the timing of the move may be a bit curious, given that the Kansas City Royals are set to have Yordano Ventura Bobblehead Night on July 25th, this is likely what is best for the long term. It would be great to see Ventura there as his likeness is given away, but the potential to have Ventura back to the same level that he was last season far outweighs any promotion. Besides, if the Royals really wanted Ventura there, they could probably just push Bobblehead Night back a week.
Chances are, this banishment will be similar to the Mike Moustakas Exile last season. As we recall, Moustakas was sent to Omaha for ten days, and upon his return, seemed to be a more confident player. Perhaps the same treatment will work for Ventura, where he can get back on track while working on any issues that Dave Eiland and the Royals may have identified.
The Kansas City Royals have sent Yordano Ventura, their Opening Day starter, down to Omaha. As surprising a move as it may seem to be, it was the correct move to make.