Nuts and bolts: KC Royals minor league player options

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
3 of 5
KC Royals
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

The fact that some notable KC Royals are out of options may improve their chances of making the club. Others, however, may find themselves looking for work.

While having no options doesn’t matter to some KC Royals, lack of options does to others. Some players may survive spring training because they don’t have options; having none may spell the end of their KC days for others.

Not in any need of the options they don’t have are DH Jorge Soler and shortstop Adalberto Mondesi. Their jobs aren’t in doubt. And if Mondesi, recovering from last season’s injuries and subsequent surgery, requires an injury rehabilitation assignment, he can have one (or more) because rehab assignments aren’t options.

His lack of options probably won’t influence the Royals where pitcher Jorge Lopez is concerned. Despite his inconsistency, his stuff can be electrifying, and the club is focused on where to put him–the rotation or the bullpen–and not worried about sending him down.

Pitcher Mike Montgomery is almost certain to begin the season in the KC rotation. Even if he has a bad spring, the Royals aren’t likely to give up on him, and his lack of options would require the Royals to risk losing him through waivers if they wanted to send him down. Jesse Hahn also appears immune to his lack of options–that the club released him in December and signed him to a major league deal several days later suggests only a catastrophic Cactus League performance could cause it to lose faith in him.

Outfielders Bubba Starling and Brett Phillips were set to compete for at least one starting outfield spot this season, but the offseason acquisition of third baseman Maikel Franco pushed Ryan Dozier to right field, Whit Merrifield will play center and Alex Gordon spurned retirement to re-up for another year in left. The fates of Starling and Phillips may, or may not, hinge on their lack of options.

The new outfield alignment doesn’t change the Starling-Phillips competition, it just changes what they’re competing for. KC will keep at least one, and probably more, backup outfielders; if the Royals carry at least two, Starling and Phillips are the most likely choices, their chances enhanced by the facts they have no options and other promising outfielders, such as Nick Heath and Eric Mejia, do. But if Starling and Phillips fail this spring, their lack of options may not deter the club from trying to keep them by attempting to get them through waivers.

Randy Rosario‘s two spring appearances haven’t damaged his chances of landing a bullpen spot. Through Friday’s games, he has a save and hasn’t allowed a hit, a walk, or a run. He’s out of options which, together with his performance and the fact he’s a rare lefty among bullpen candidates, could help him earn a roster spot.