Which two players should the KC Royals add to their active roster this Thursday?
This decision is hard. But with pitching something the Royals desperately need, they should give Cox a shot in the rotation. Zack Greinke will miss at least part of September on the Injured List, so there’s room for Cox to see some action. And there’s another Rule 5 decision coming for Cox—the Royals left him unprotected for last year’s Rule 5 (that ultimately didn’t occur), so they ought to evaluate him against big league hitting before determining what to do with him.
The club will have to open up a 40-man roster spot if they promote Cox. Letting Ryan O’Hearn go to accomplish that is certainly, and should be, a possibility.
García warrants the other spot. He’s an infielder of the future, and establishing him at shortstop, with Bobby Witt Jr. at third and Michael Massey at second, with versatile Nicky Lopez playing a reserve role, makes sense. Bringing García up Thursday gives these players several weeks to work together. And he’s already on the 40-man roster.
That leaves Hicklen the odd man out. The Royals didn’t protect him for last year’s Rule 5 draft, so he may not be in their long-range plans. They could protect him by adding him to the 40-man this winter, but the club might end up hunting for an established big league outfielder in free agency or on the trade market. And Hicklen could be a decent offseason trade chip.
And should Kansas City want Hicklen after promoting Cox and Garcia, nothing prevents it from opening up another roster spot.
We’ll know Thursday who Kansas City adds to its roster.