KC Royals option Gutierrez, Zimmer and Speier to Triple-A

 

Despite baseball being delayed, that hasn’t stopped the KC Royals from making a trio of roster moves ahead of the 2020 regular season.

Major League Baseball’s suspension continues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but nevertheless, the KC Royals aren’t stopping their moves. On Thursday, the club optioned Kelvin Gutierrez, Kyle Zimmer and Gabe Speier to Triple-A Omaha. The Athletic’s Alec Lewis reported the transactions.

Speier is probably the least surprising name here. In four spring training appearances this year, he pitched 3.1 innings and surrendered three hits, two walks and also a pair of runs. He posted a 7.36 ERA in just nine games with the Royals last year but he’ll turn just 25 next month and still has enough potential to work his way back into the fold.

Gutierrez, who some view as the club’s third baseman of the future, was having a so-so spring before games were canceled. His .242/.265/.455 line left a bit to be desired and he failed to turn many heads overall. That’s not a bad thing, though, as the offseason addition of Maikel Franco was likely made partially to provide Gutierrez some more time to develop.

We’ve already told you not to forget about Gutierrez just yet. He may not make a huge impact on this year’s team but if he can fine-tune his game in Triple-A for one last season, maybe he’ll be ready to assume full-time duties a year from now. He’s 25 years old, so there’s still enough hope left for the future.

Speaking of hope, Zimmer’s professional career thus far has been centered around it. As a first-round pick in 2012, he battled injuries for years and didn’t debut until last season. His first year as a Royal wasn’t good, as a 10.80 ERA in 18.1 innings raised questions about his future with the team. He was awarded another option because of his injury history and after a ho-hum spring training, the team has decided to use it.

All three of these players probably need more time in the minors before they’re ready. Gutierrez has potential and carries a terrific reputation as a defender, but his bat is a legitimate question mark. Speier’s generated some buzz and could rejoin the MLB club soon, although he’ll have to earn a spot. Zimmer’s on extremely thin ice and at 28 years old, he might not ever live up to the potential he once flashed.

Next: Projecting the Opening Day lineup

The KC Royals will continue to make moves until baseball is officially back. Everyone stay safe and healthy in the meantime.

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