Kansas City Royals: Cheslor Cuthbert hoping to earn a second chance
By Trevor Hooth
Just a year ago Cheslor Cuthbert had a spot on the Kansas City Royals, now he wants a second chance to prove he belongs.
Around the new year the Kansas City Royals signed another comeback story in Kyle Zimmer, and designated Cheslor Cuthbert for assignment to correspond. He cleared waivers and was sent down to Omaha, but was invited to Spring Training.
It is never an easy pill to swallow to lose a roster spot. Cuthbert seems to be handling it like a true professional. He just wants to work his way back onto the Royals roster, though his work will be cut out for him.
Why Did He Get DFA’d?
In 2016 Cuthbert posted a 0.5 fWAR, the highest of his career. He did this in 128 games with a .274 batting average. The injury to Mike Moustakas helped open up that opportunity for Cuthbert that year.
Fast forward to 2018 and Cuthbert was sporting a sub .200 batting average and a back injury. He later found out that the soreness he felt was due to a fracture in his lower back.
The injury did him in. On top of that, the signing of Chris Owings made him even more expendable. The opportunity to bring back Zimmer was just too good to pass up, leaving Cuthbert as the odd man out.
Can He Make It Back?
Technically, yes. Realistically, it will be an extremely difficult thing to do. At face value, the Kansas City Royals have Hunter Dozier at third with Chris Owings covering the backup role. We can’t forget about Nicky Lopez waiting in the wings.
Dozier showed a lot of upside at the end of last season, which has assured him the job to start the year. At this point, it truly is his job to lose. If he can shake off his series of 2017 injuries, he will improve upon his .229/.278/.395 slash line from 2018.
The Royals will use Owings as their super utility man to back up all positions. He is coming off a season where he hit a lowly .206, so Kansas City will hope he can thrive in a backup role. Last year was the first time the 27 year old hit under .260 in his career, so his poor performance may have been just a fluke.
If both of them are lagging at the plate, that opens up an opportunity for Cuthbert to swoop in and prove he belongs. The only issue with that is the standing of Lopez. The Royals prospect is ready to show what he can do, so he might get organizational priority.
The key for Cuthbert is going to be playing well. A lot can happen during the season and all it takes is one or two injuries for him to be ensured a spot. He is healthy, so there is no excuse for him to perform poorly.
Second chances can happen, and what makes it easy to root for Cuthbert is that he wants to earn his. He isn’t acting like an injury stole his shot, he is ready to prove once again the he deserves it. I will be pulling for him to do just that.