KC Royals Prospects: Does Omaha have a catching problem?
What are the KC Royals to do with three good Triple-A catchers?
That's the question Jirschele and Kansas City share: Jirschele has to figure out how to give Porter, Reetz and Fermin ample playing time, and the Royals must decide their eventual fate with the franchise.
Again, any decision Jirschele reaches about catching won't be wrong. But whoever he selects to catch on any given day leaves one catcher on the bench if the other DH's and, although Porter can play first, he won't get much chance there as long as Nick Pratto is in Omaha trying to get his hitting back in order.
Kansas City's organizational problem is more difficult. The Royal brass needs to determine what to do with Omaha's catchers in the long run, a problem made more difficult by the current progression up the system ladder of Luca Tresh, another catcher and KC's 13th-best prospect per MLB Pipeline. He slashed .263/.333/.421 for the Royals in the Cactus League and will start the season at Northwest Arkansas Thursday.
Without question, and in a perfect world, the Royals would love to keep Porter, Reetz and Fermin. But baseball isn't a perfect world or a perfect business, and at least one, and maybe two, of Omaha's three catchers may become trapped in a developing numbers crunch that only a transaction or two can resolve.
Why? Perez is going to finish his career with Kansas City; his retirement is still a few years away. Improving Melendez's defense behind the plate is a continuing project, but the Royals want him to catch, and they don't want to lose his bat. The club probably doesn't want to waste Porter on the bench, but he gives them a bit of versatility they may need if Pratto doesn't hit and Melendez becomes a permanent outfielder-DH.
Reetz hasn't hit well enough long enough to assure a long-term relationship with the club. And Fermin may be a better backup than a regular.
Look for Jirschele to move his catchers around for the next few weeks. But if the midsummer trade deadline approaches with Melendez still catching with no end to that task in sight and Tresh trending in the right direction, expect the Royals to seriously consider trading Porter, shopping or releasing Reetz, and keeping Fermin.