We have waited 29 years to speculate on playoff rosters, so let’s do it twice in a week.
The Royals can revamp their 25 man roster for the series with the Angels and it really comes down to just a few questions at this point. We know, for example, that all five starters will be on the roster – well, we think we know anyway.
Jason Vargas wills start Game One with Yordano Ventura and James Shields following. The Game Four starter, if necessary, is undetermined at this point, but we do know that Danny Duffy will be available out of the pen in this series and is ‘in consideration’ to start a Game Four. Now, if Duffy does make a relief appearance, the Royals might well opt to trot Jeremy Guthrie out to start the fourth game (the only other option would be Vargas on short rest). They will want to keep their options open and hence, all five starters will be on the twenty-five.
We also know that Greg Holland, Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera, Brandon Finnegan and Jason Frasor will hold down the first five spots in the bullpen. It would not surprise me if the Royals opt to carry just one more reliever, probably Scott Downs or Francisely Bueno. I personally would roll with ten, knowing that Duffy and/or Guthrie would be available for at least the first two games of the series as well. Ned Yost, however, has always, always worried about running out of pitchers, so look for at least the big five plus one reliever to be on the roster.
Not only do you know what the lineup will be, you also know the order in which they will bat. The starting nine will certainly be joined by Eric Kratz and Jarrod Dyson, giving the Royals 11 position players and 11 pitchers. Should the premium be placed on being able to pinch run and pinch hit at will over having an extra relief arm, then it pretty easily becomes Christian Colon, Jayson Nix and Terrance Gore filling out the roster.
That group of twenty-five would seem to be the most likely. It will be interesting to see what the brain trust in blue comes up with.
EDIT: In my haste to push something out this morning, I managed to forget Josh Willingham, who will and should be on the 25. In my world, Nix is out Willingham is in, but I fear that Yost/Moore may opt for Nix over Colon. Also, they wouldn’t keep Ibanez over Terrance Gore…..would they?