Latest roster cuts hook 2 popular KC Royals players

A pitcher and an outfielder are headed for the minors.

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Safe to say, assuming prolonged social media chatter qualifies as at least a semi-reliable barometer of such things, is that Tyler Gentry and John McMillon are two KC Royals who enjoy considerable popularity.

But Kansas City fans bearing allegiances to one, the other, or both highly-regarded prospects must be disappointed with the roster news coming out of the team's Surprise, Arizona, spring training headquarters Tuesday. With almost twice as many players in camp as they'll be allowed to carry on Opening Day, the Royals first optioned outfielder Gentry, and then relief pitcher McMillon, to Triple-A Omaha; absent any changes in club circumstances between now and Opening Day, both will be Storm Chasers, not Royals, to begin the season.

The cuts took the Royals down to 54 players. The active roster is capped at 26 from Opening Day until Sept. 1, when teams get to add two players.

Tyler Gentry obviously lost the outfield numbers game

Fan sentiment to promote Gentry to the majors began last summer when, in just his third professional campaign, he was on the way to clubbing 16 home runs, driving in 71 runs, posting an excellent .370 OBP, and stealing 14 bases for Omaha. He appeared to be under consideration for a big league spot when spring training opened last month, but his odds were long considering the flock of talented outfielders competing to back up presumptive starters Kyle Isbel, MJ Melendez, and new Royal Hunter Renfroe.

So, Tuesday's move shouldn't surprise anyone. The numbers game didn't really favor Gentry, not with Dairon Blanco, Nelson Velázquez, Drew Waters, and others fighting for the same type of spot Gentry was. Optioning him to Omaha also proved true our recent projection that he'd be with the Storm Chasers when the Royals open the season March 28 against Minnesota.

Despite his new status, Gentry can still play in the major league club's Cactus League, which he did Tuesday and went 0-for-2 in Kansas City's 4-2 road loss to Colorado. His hitless day dropped Gentry's spring line to .118/.211/.294. He has a homer and three RBI in 10 games.

John McMillion is also returning to the minor leagues

The Royals introduced McMillon to the big leagues last year when they called him up from Double-A Northwest Arkansas in mid-August. And they had to like what they saw — he struck out eight, issued no walks, and surrenderd only a run and a hit in four scoreless innings spread across four appearances.

How he would have performed had he pitched more fr KC last season will never be known. A right forearm strain forced him to the Injured List in late August and he didn't work again until this spring. That might have something to do with Tuesday's option: MLB.com Royals beat writer Anne Rogers reports "...it seemed McMillon needed more time to build up and get his stuff and mechanics right."

McMillon hadn't seen much Cactus League action before being optioned. In two scoreless innings, he'd given up two hits, hit two batters, yielded a walk, and struck out one.

Considering the limited time he spent with the Royals last season and the injury he suffered, starting 2024 in Triple-A, where he's never pitched, is probably best for McMillon, who climbed rapidly through the Royals' farm system last season — he first went 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in nine games for Single-A Columbia, then 3-1, 2.70 at High-A Quad Cities, and finally 3-2, 0.87 with five saves at Northwest Arkansas. All in all, he was 7-3 with a 2.10 ERA and 10 saves.

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