The full squad is in Arizona, but the games don’t start for awhile. So here we are, already settled into a routine of the early days of camp.
Speaking of that pitching depth, the Star is reporting the Royals still have interest in bringing Greg Holland back on some sort of deal where he would rehab from his Tommy John surgery with the team before returning to the big leagues in 2017. That’s an interesting proposition, given Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis are under team control for the next two seasons and new addition Joakim Soria has a three year deal. Assuming Holland successfully rehabs (and given how long he pitched with the tear in his ligament, who doubts his ultimate recovery?) where exactly would he fit in the back of the bullpen? Sixth inning guy? Holy cow, that’s an embarrassment of bullpen riches. Except we’re talking about Tommy John surgery, so any assumption means we are getting ahead of ourselves.
Clark touched on this yesterday, but the Royals pitching depth is ridiculous. The Royals have so much major league pitching pedigree in camp, you can’t help but think that there’s at least two or three or more arms who can give the club some innings this year. Kansas City is now a destination for pitchers recovering from injury or underperformance. We’ve come a long, long way from having to overpay to bring a mediocre free agent to the team.
The good news about this depth, is that a pitcher has to be good enough to actually work his way onto the roster. The Royals already have a good base in place in the rotation. And you know about the bullpen. So this depth isn’t about a having a fringe guy who is going to make over 25 starts or throw more than 70 innings out of the pen. This depth is about filling small holes that will reveal themselves over time. Obviously, they can’t keep everyone who is in camp as a non-roster invitee, but they will surely be able to stash an arm or two in Triple-A for an emergency. One of the developments of these new look Royals the last couple of years is how well they manage their pitching roster. There seems to be quite a road map in place where the club knows exactly who to bring up at what time. It’s quite a dance between players with options and major league contracts and whatnot. In my opinion, the whole, “The Royals know what they’re doing, so get off their back and enjoy the ride” frame of thought is generally misguided, although in the case of how they handle their arms in bringing them on and off the roster generally makes perfect sense. So how about I enjoy the I-29 Shuttle?
Depth is the theme of this camp. (I’m not including Eric Hosmer‘s choice of t-shirt here.) And that remains a good theme, given this team won a World Championship just a few months ago and is returning nearly every key player from that squad. Yes, the routine of spring is upon us. Welcome back.