Third baseman Matt Duffy
The Royals have had the battle of the Matts for a utility role this spring. Despite Matt Beaty's previous connections to Kansas City, veteran Matt Duffy has the best Opening Day roster chances.
This would be Duffy's fourth MLB team in as many years, exemplifying the journeyman role. He has .7 WAR in the past three seasons, with a contact-first approach at the plate and the defensive versatility teams want on their bench. Duffy has played all four infield positions in his career, plus a dash of left field. The righty provides depth at the hot corner, behind presumed starter Hunter Dozier. Royals fans were rightfully hopeful that prospect Maikel Garcia would factor into the third-base conversation, but Kansas City has focused on his outfield reps lately. Also, the team would rather Garcia see consistent playing time in Triple-A Omaha than occasional work in the majors. That is why the team brings in a guy like Duffy.
The 568th pick in the 2012 MLB Draft has carved out a great career as a bench bat in recent seasons. He has only played in more than 100 regular-season games twice in his career and none of the past three. That is important because the Royals need a guy who is ready to play off the bench and does not require a ramp-up or more development. Duffy is not going to mash home runs, with only 29 career home runs. But he finds a way to get on base. In seven games this spring, Duffy has a .429 on-base percentage and nine hits. He is just a steady player, and that is okay.
The Royals do not have a massive financial commitment to Duffy, but letting him go after the spring would be to their detriment. Kansas City could have one of the most competent benches in recent memory, and Duffy is the veteran presence that bench really needs.