Royals: Organization adds four players to 40-man roster

MIAMI, FL - JULY 09: Foster Griffin
MIAMI, FL - JULY 09: Foster Griffin /

On Wednesday, the Kansas City Royals added four players to the 40-man roster in an effort to protect them from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.

Winter decisions are starting to carry more and more weight. This week, the Kansas City Royals added the quartet of Foster Griffin, Carlos Hernandez, Nick Heath and Jeison Guzman to the 40-man roster. These moves were made in order to protect the four players from December’s Rule 5 Draft.

Griffin, the Royals’ first-round pick in 2014, is a former MLB Futures Game participant. In 2018, he went 10-12 and twirled a 5.13 ERA. Going 8-6 with a 5.23 ERA this past season with the AAA Omaha Storm Chasers, the mixed bag trend continued. At 24 years old, this season will be paramount for the lefty starter.

Hernandez is a 6-foot-4 right-handed starter. Through his three seasons in the Royals’ minor league system, he’s won 10 games and holds a career ERA of 4.56. In 36 innings with the organization’s Class-A affiliate, the 22-year-old tossed a 3.50 ERA. He leaves some optimism for the future, which is the reason the team protected him from the draft. MLB Pipeline ranks Hernandez as the Royals’ 13th-best prospect.

Heath is a prototypical Kansas City Royals prospect. Leading all minor league players in stolen bases last year with 60 and amassing eight triples on the season, the outfielder’s speed projects to possibly play a role with the major league club at some point. His power likely won’t ever be a factor, but he has range on defense and is a menace when he gets on base. If that doesn’t fit the Royals’ brand, I’m not sure what does.

A non-drafted free agent four years ago, Guzman was a part of this year’s championship Lexington Legends team. As a matter of fact, the shortstop was named the Lexington Player of the Year. He’s not an elite prospect by any means and is still early in his development, so Guzman will need a terrific 2020 to appear on more radars.

In order to make space for the aforementioned four, the Royals designated Nick Dini, Conner Greene, Arnaldo Hernandez and Jorge Bonifacio for assignment. Bonifacio is the most notable of the bunch, as he’s failed to make the most of his playing time over the past few seasons.

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The next development to look forward to is non-tenders being issued (or not) on Dec. 2. Unless, of course, the Royals make a free agency move between now and then.