KC Royals: 40 man roster moves bring changes

KC Royals, Khalil Lee (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
KC Royals, Khalil Lee (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The KC Royals changed things up with some moves, seeing a few players moved off the roster, and some prospects put on to protect them from the Rule 5 draft.

Team’s all across baseball have been preparing to change up their active roster as Friday night marked the deadline for clubs who wanted to add players to their 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. As expected, the KC Royals made a few roster moves of their own.

The Royals roster sat at 39 Friday morning and as they were expected to add multiple players needing protection, it was also expected that they would see a few players moved off the roster in various ways.

To make room, the Royals announced they moved three players off the roster and added 4, bringing the roster to a full 40.

As far as those players that were moved off the roster, there aren’t any big surprises. Chance Adams was sent outright to Triple-A. This was expected by some as it was recently announced that he has undergone Tommy John surgery.

As for Glenn Sparkman and Gabe Speier, they were both designated for assignment. It would not be out of the question to see both of these players back in the Royals minor league system, but there is always a chance they will find a home with another team.

Speier had a few decent years in the minor leagues, moving through multiple teams’ systems. WIth the Royals, he got a chance at the majors in both 2019 and 2020, but was unable to find success in either of his very short stints. While there may still be some potential there, the Royals aren’t hurting for young pitchers.

Glenn Sparkman is a similar story. Sparkman has spent the majority of his career in Kansas City and even saw a career-high 136.0 innings in 2019. He was used as both a starter and a reliever, but he was never really able to find a comfortable spot. Still, he will likely be remembered for his outstanding complete game shutout on July 16, 2019 in Kansas City.

Sparkman was injured for the majority of the 2020 season, and it’s not surprising to see the club is fine with moving on from him.

As for those players added, most were likely expected other than maybe Angel Zerpa. Zerpa is lesser known than some Royals prospects, but has been with the organization since 2017. He has worked his way through the rookie league, and according to Dayton Moore, he is going to be moving quickly through the system.

Daniel Tillo was one who was expected to make the roster, though there were some questions as he is recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Royals drafted Tillo in 2017 and he has done well to move quickly through the system since. He made it to AA Northwest Arkansas in 2019 and between there and A+ ball he pitched 130.2 innings and held an ERA of 3.72, striking out 85. Dayton Moore also had something to say about him.

Catcher Sebastian Rivero is one of the two position players to be added to the roster. The Royals likely want to have some catching depth as they have seen times during recent seasons where Salvy was out and so was Cam Gallagher.

Rivero is young but made his way to AAA Omaha in 2019. He has promising skills defensively and has put up a good caught stealing percentage during his time in the minors. He isn’t much of a slugger, but he has shown an ability to hit and get on base during some seasons. The question will be whether he can translate that to the majors.

Last but not least is Khalil Lee. Lee was the one player most expected to be put on the roster. He is the Royals number 8 prospect and has been considered in line to receive a job in the outfield in the not so distant future.

Lee is full of speed, having stolen 53 bases in 2019 and while he likely won’t be hitting the ball out of the park, he has shown a decent skill for getting on base in the minors and he uses his speed to make plays in the outfield. He may still have a little time before he makes his way to Kansas City, but he is definitely on track to roam the fields of Kauffman.

The roster is now at 40, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any more changes this offseason. It’s likely some more players could be moved off to make room for any Rule 5 picks, or free agents the Royals may sign over the next few months.

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The Royals have made some major changes to the roster, sending some players off, and adding a few prospects into the mix. Things may quiet down for a bit, but it’s likely there will be more to come.