KC Royals still looking for Frank White’s replacement

(Photo by Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals, Frank White
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It looked like Carlos Febles might fit the KC Royals’ second base bill, but he didn’t last.

First there was Terry Shumpert. Then Keith Miller. Then Jose Lind, Keith Lockhart and Jose Offerman for a couple seasons each. Try as they might, though, none managed to stick at second base after Frank White played his last KC Royals game in 1990.

Carlos Febles’ late 1998 debut impressed the Royals—he slashed .400/.483/.600, and didn’t make an error at second in 11 games as a September call-up. Then, in 2019, he was justifying the club’s decision to give him second base by blistering AL pitching for 11 extra-base hits and a .364 average in May. But his bat disappeared in June and, although his glove remained fairly solid, he managed only a .219 average over the campaign’s final four months and finished at .256.

He exceeded that .256 by a point in 1999, but it was the best he’d ever do in the majors; his weak bat finally did him in (he hit .236, .245 and .235 the next three seasons) and the club released him after the 2003 campaign. He never played in the big leagues again.

Desi Relaford actually played more at second than Febles in that last season, Tony Graffanino played there more than Relaford in 2004, and Ruben Gotay saw more action at second than anyone in 2005. None turned out to be the solution.

The KC Royals went back to the drawing board.