Frank Schwindel has always been a puzzle for the Kansas City Royals. It looks like the team is trying to find a way to get him on the big league club.
It wasn’t that long ago guys like Frank Schwindel could find a place on a major league roster. Those days have changed. With new statistics and rankings, a players “value” covers offense and defense. Teams want more than just a player who can hit or just play defense. The Kansas City Royals want his offense but have struggled to find a place for him to play.
It looks like the Royals are looking for ways to get him on the team going north. Recently I wrote a piece about his struggle to find a spot on the club. I mentioned a key injury might be a way for him to get an opportunity. I thought Jorge Soler would be the most likely injury to bring this about. How Salvador Perez‘s injury could play into this I did not see.
With Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria looking to be the likely replacements for Perez, Ned Yost floats the idea of Schwindel returning behind the plate. On the surface, this seems like a bad idea. Schwindel has only caught 42 games since being drafted by the Royals. They moved him to first base for a reason. However, grooming him to be a reliable third catcher could make sense.
As I wrote in a recent article, Gallagher and Viloria shouldn’t be relied on for much offense. The loss of Perez’s bat in the lineup would be hard to make up. Getting Schwindel’s bat on the team could make up for some of that difference.
Schwindel will never be a primary catcher. Even as a backup, I would find it hard for a team to rely on him for 30 to 50 starts a year. Using him as a third string receiver could open up options for Yost during a game though. With Terrance Gore being the designated runner, they could pinch run for the starting catcher and still have a backup in case of injury.
That won’t give him many chances at the plate, but it increases his “value” for the team. If and when he makes the Royals big league club, I expect him to do a lot more than catch. The Royals could platoon him with Ryan O’Hearn against left handed pitchers. Occasional stints as DH should help give him even more AB’s.
What Schwindel has been waiting for is an opportunity. His returning behind the plate gives him more “Value” on a club that likes players who can fill multiple roles. The trick for him is to just get on the big league club. If his bat continues to shine once he gets there, the Royals will find it hard to send him back down.
They are going to need to find offense this year so the door is wide open. He turns 27 this year as well. His clock is ticking. He needs to make his move soon.