Throughout any rebuild of the Royals, the one area they could not seem to get right was second base. The position has seemed like a revolving door of players unable to hold the position down while being productive offensively. With the recent news, could the door still be revolving?
We saw guys like Chris Getz and Omar Infante try to be the second baseman for the Royals but they both fell flat. When the Royals won the World Series they rented Ben Zobrist which worked out for half the season before he led the Cubs to a World Series the following year.
In 2016 the Royals saw their future second baseman for years to come, Whit Merrifield. With the current rebuild, there have been talks of trading Merrifield or potentially having Raul Mondesi play second. Which brings the question comes up again. Who do the Royals have in-house would replace Merrifield if he is traded or moved?
This offseason the Royals signed utility infielder Ryan Goins from Toronto to a minor league contract. At first glance, this seemed like a Mondesi insurance move in case the Royals felt Mondesi needed more time in Triple-A Omaha. Then the Royals re-signed Alcides Escobar. So now his signing actually looks more like Merrifield trade insurance.
Throughout his career, Goins has hit .228/.275/.335 with his best year being in 2015 where he hit .215/.318/.354. He is a solid defender, averaging a 3.92 Range Factor per game. While offensively he could use some work, defensively he should be able to fit in and help save some runs if his number is called.
Goins has yet to start a full season and it does not look like he will in Kansas City either. He could prove to be valuable if the team decides to move Merrifield from second base, though.
We all expected this year to see Mondesi be the starting shortstop but with the re-signing of Escobar, Mondesi could make a push for second base. The Royals have stated that he could win the job at second base and push Merrifield to an everyday utility player out of Spring Training.
Mondesi did make improvements last year in Triple-A offensively. He finished the year hitting a slash line of .305/.340/.539. Based on those numbers he looked like he could be ready for the major league level. He just has to be healthy and stay healthy first.
Expectations for Mondesi should not be too high this year. However, I do think he can make a push, forcing himself onto the 25-man roster at some point. Since the Royals are apprehensive of giving him the starting job at shortstop, he seems destined to start in Triple-A this year.
Last year Ramon Torres made his Major League debut. He hit .243/.291/.284 over 33 games. Torres did not get a lot of playing time but what I saw was a solid player. He can help out the Royals if his number is called.
I do not foresee him as an everyday player in the major leagues right now, but he can be a solid bench player. He is also someone who can play multiple positions on the infield. He fits the Ned Yost mold of having players that can play multiple positions perfectly.
What to expect
In 2018 Whit Merrifield looks to have the starting position locked down. When looking at the depth behind him, it does not look as bad as it could be. If Merrifield is moved I do not think the new second baseman will be able to produce the numbers Merrifield did in 2017.
What do you think of the Royals depth at second base? Who do you think could break camp at second base if Merrifield is moved? Let us know in the comments or on twitter!