I have been watching. I have been cheering. I have been agonizing. I just haven’t been written. I am sure many of your lives were greatly diminished due to my lack of sage input……or not.
There is not much to offer about last night’s game, other than the rather obvious observation that if the Royals continue to win two of every three games, they will make the playoffs. That said, Ned Yost – always paranoid about being short arms in the bullpen – will now be forever super-ultra paranoid from here on out after finding himself with only Bruce Chen, Scott Downs and an unavailable Wade Davis to start the 10th inning last night. You watch, Yost and the Royals will break camp in 2015 with a NINE man bullpen coupled with a back-up catcher and Jayson Nix as the only bench players.
Ah, Jayson Nix. Acquired off waivers yesterday, Nix can pretty much play any position but catcher and has never really hit playing anywhere. I don’t mind him for a September stretch run when the Royals might well employ two pinch-runners and two pinch-hitters when the rosters expand to 40 in three days. Since Kansas City is in first place, I will not, for now, wonder if giving Ned Yost multiple options is a good thing.
When Eric Hosmer returns, for better or worse, the Royals will have one of Hosmer, Butler or Josh Willingham on the bench every night, along with Raul Ibanez, Christian Colon and whomever is the fourth outfielder is that night. There is the thought that speedy Terrance Gore might get a September call-up specifically to be just a pinch-runner and almost certainly Francisco Pena to be a third catcher. Having a guy like Nix who can field any position allows Yost, whether we trust him or not, to pinch-hit and pinch-run multiple times late in a close game. Now, if Nix is ever allowed to pick up a bat, then we’ll have something to complain about.
What does the acquisition of Nix mean for a potential playoff roster? That’s right, I just went there and said it: playoffs.
The rules are pretty simple: any player on the 25 man active roster OR the disabled list on August 31st is eligible to be on the 25 man post-season roster. If a player is on the disabled list on August 31st AND still there at the end of the season, he can be replaced by anyone that was in the organization prior to August 31st.
What that means for Kansas City is that Luke Hochevar and Michael Mariot, both on the 60 day disabled list right now, are eligible for the post-season roster and, more importantly, can be replaced by anyone as they won’t be pitching in the post-season.
Eric Hosmer is on the 15 man disabled list and eligible for the post-season as well and, of course, WILL be on the post-season roster. In the end, Kansas City has 28 post-season roster spots to turn into a 25 man roster, with two of those spots (Hochevar and Mariot) capable of being filled by anyone.
So, when Jayson Nix joins the team today or tomorrow and Christian Colon (as speculated) is sent to the minors, it does not necessarily mean that Nix is your playoff utility guy and Colon is out. Kansas City could simply elect to put Luke Hochevar on their 25 man post-season roster and then immediately replace him with Colon or Aaron Crow or Tim Collins or Brandon Finnegan or whomever. Obviously, that would mean that someone on the 25 man active roster on August 31st (kind of looking in your direction Scott Downs and Bruce Chen) won’t be allowed to join in the post-season fun.
In the end, adding Jayson Nix today only makes him eligible for the post-season, not a lock for it. He’ll be handy to have around in September when one can, if so desired and not dead set on the idea that Mike Moustakas will hit something other than .200 and that Omar Infante is clutch, maximize the flexibility of expanded rosters to get favorable match-ups at the plate and on the basepaths.
Used properly and in conjunction with other players, Jayson Nix is a handy little pick-up and does not have any earth shattering consequences when looking at the post-season composition of the Royals.