One month ago, I took a first stab at the 2011 Opening Day roster. As promised (or threatened), we will continue to evaluate this each month as the comings and goings of the off-season transpire.
What we have learned in a month is that Bruce Chen would like a multi-year deal and that Dayton Moore is hellbent on getting the next Willie Bloomquist. What’s that do to our roster construction?
Well, even last month, I had not included Josh Fields. Instead, the perception was that Chris Getz would be the second baseman, Yuniesky Betancourt the shortstop and Mike Aviles would get the nod at third. Behind them, Wilson Betemit would be used as something of a super-sub: albeit one that you hope the ball never finds. That all pretty much came out of the Royals’ organization and not my own tortured thoughts.
Joining Betemit on the bench last month were outfielders Gregor Blanco and Mitch Maier. That now appears to be unlikely, given the recent pickups of Joaquin Arias and Lance Zawadzki. While neither is a lock to make any roster, the accompanying comments from Dayton Moore about the team ‘needing to find someone to fill the Willie Bloomquist role’ certainly points to keeping one of the two or someone like them as opposed to retaining five outfielders.
Frankly, that does make some sense from a roster construction standpoint and makes the thirteen position players likely to break camp with the big club as follows:
C – Brayan Pena, Lucas May (No, I really don’t think it will be these two, but instead one of them plus a ‘veteran’ pickup. Until we get some names bandied about, however, we’ll stick with the status quo.)
1B – Billy Butler, Kila Ka’aihue
2B – Chris Getz
SS – Yuniesky Betancourt
3B – Mike Aviles
LF – Alex Gordon
CF – Jarrod Dyson or Gregor Blanco
RF – David DeJesus
Bench – Wilson Betemit, Gregor Blanco or Mitch Maier, Joaquin Arias or Lance Zawadzki
If Dyson does not win the centerfield job outright, then I think he goes to AAA and Mitch Maier lives to fight another day. I would throw Irving Falu in the mix for the ‘Bloomquist role’ if I thought the organization was really going to give him a look (which I don’t).
On the pitching side of things, the Bruce Chen situation may all be posturing for a year with an option sort of deal, but there are enough teams that need fourth and fifth starters out there that might give Chen that second year. While it would be nice to have him back as stop-gap for 2011, the Royals would be, and appear to be, wise to avoid making that leap of faith.
That said, and pending something really substantial on the Greinke rumor front, we have this group of twelve on our staff:
Rotation – Zack Greinke, Luke Hochevar, Kyle Davies, Sean O’Sullivan and Everett Teaford
Bullpen – Joakim Soria, Gil Meche, Robinson Tejeda, Blake Wood, Dusty Hughes, Tim Collins and Kanekoa Texiera.
It may be the blogosphere winning me over more than any organizational feeling, but I sense that the Royals really would like Teaford to pitch well enough in the spring to warrant some early season starts. With all the hot prospects coming up behind him, it might be wise for the Royals to take a look at Teaford and find out what they’ve got while they have the time. Maybe that’s a loser mentality, but it is the current state of this team as it enters the 2011 season.
When, by the way, is the last time you saw Dayton Moore give up on one of his prize waiver wire pickups? He has done so….eventually. However, eventually is still at least ten appearances away for Kanekoa Texiera. The same probably applies to Jesse Chavez as well, but something has to give and I think Tim Collins is too good and Dusty Hughes is too left-handed to be left off the roster.
November is full of deadlines when it comes to roster decisions and contract decisions. My guess is that by this time next month, we might have a fair number of changes to make to the above twenty-five.