Getting past the off day means we’re all downhill from here as we approach the start of the regular season. (YES!!!) As Dutton outlined, this is where the competition for spots really begins to gather steam. Any stats you saw in the early part of the spring, you can safely discard. While you can probably discard the spring stats that will unfold the rest of the month, from now on those numbers will play a role in setting the 25 man roster the Royals take north for the opener on March 31.
While the Royals maintain there’s still some competition, I maintain most of the roster has been set since camp opened a month ago. Excepting the bullpen.
The one monkey wrench in all of this could be the recovery of Jason Kendall. This doesn’t surprise me as much as disappoint me, but he is ahead of schedule. I wouldn’t be surprised if he opened with the team… Even if he had something like 10 spring training at bats. That’s just something the Royals always seem to do where they stumble over themselves to give a veteran some sort of role on the team. Remember “It wouldn’t be fair to Dougie?” I suggest we all get mentally prepared, because Kendall will be with the team sooner rather than later. Honestly, I was holding out hope that it would be July at the earliest, but this dude is some sort of cyborg or something. At his age, recovery should take time. Lots and lots of time.
Rewind yourself, indeed.
Clark speculated the other day that if Kendall is on the roster, the Royals would keep three catchers as both Brayan Pena and Lucas May are out of options. I suppose that’s possible, and we all know how tone deaf Dayton Moore is when it comes to assembling the 25-man roster. Still, a three man catching monster is as useless as a 13 man bullpen. But it doesn’t prevent teams like the Royals from doing something like this.
Otherwise, the position players appear to be set. The upset of the camp would be if Lance Zawadzki pushes Chris Getz to the sideline. The Z Man has been productive and Getz has been…Getz. I still think Getz has the inside track… How crazy would it be if stolen bases were the deciding factor. We all know how the Royals want to run this year. Getz has four spring steals while Zawadzki has none.
Of course, the Royals could go with both if they decide Wilson Betemit isn’t ready for regular duty.
— As for the outfield, that’s set. Nothing has changed there.
— Same for the rotation as it’s down to Vin Mazarro and Sean O’Sullivan as for who can suck less. I’m really not invested in this battle, especially since the Royals won’t need a fifth starter until mid April.
That quirk of the schedule could permit the Royals to carry three catchers and five outfielders. Crazy.
Meanwhile, Alex Gordon is on a tear and through 30 spring at bats is hitting .367/.558/.733 with three home runs, including a bomb he launched on Tuesday. Of course, he was hitless or something in his first 10 at bats of the spring. (I don’t recall, and it’s not necessary to look it up.) The point is, he was ice cold for the first week or so and he’s poured it on ever since. And ultimately, it doesn’t matter. What Alex Gordon does in Arizona shouldn’t impact your opinion of him in the least.
— Nate Adcock looked strong in three innings of work, but color me skeptical when discussing a Rule 5 pick who has never pitched above high A ball and strikes out just 6.6 batters per nine while walking 3.8. Sure, it helps his cause that he has yet to allow a run in eight innings of spring work, but I’m going to place a wager that his first eight innings of the regular season won’t go as smoothly.
He will remain in the mix for the bullpen since the Royals have to keep him on the 25 man roster or offer him back to Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, they acquired another Rule 5 guy in Robert Fish. Stop me if you’ve heard this before… He’s a lefty power arm who has trouble with command. In other words, he’ll always have teams knocking on his door. It’s difficult to imagine a scenario, even in KC, where a team keeps two Rule 5 guys in the bullpen. Still, this is GMDM and the Royals… Anything is possible when it comes to constructing a roster.