The Kansas City Royals State Of The Union Part 2: Lineup Depth And Versatility
Shaun Kernahan (Guest Royals Writer): Follow @shaunkernahan
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The Tampa Bay Rays do it by getting career years out of castoffs like James Loney. The Oakland A’s do it with a platoon at nearly every position.
Now the Kansas City Royals will try to be the latest small market club to make a run at the playoffs with an unorthodox roster strategy, of utility and multi-positional players.
Given their roster today, the only player in any likely starting lineup the Royals will throw out there this season that has not played multiple positions in the major leagues is Mike Moustakas.
But even Moustakas has a past that includes him playing other positions.
When at Chatsworth High School, he played shortstop because current Houston Astros third baseman, Matt Dominguez, played third base on that same high school team.
Pat Venditte – Switch Pitcher Vs Switch Hitter
The guy most likely to start the majority of games at second base will be Omar Infante.
In addition to second base, Infante has seen big league action at third base, shortstop, left field, right field, and center field, so he has the ability to fill in at a couple of spots.
Backing him up will be another guy that has played all three outfield positions plus second, third and short, Emilio Bonifacio.
Granted, neither guy brings a big stick, but Infante is a quality bat at the bottom of the lineup, and Bonifacio can fly on the bases.
The starting shortstop is Alcides Escobar. While every game but five in his career have been solely at short, he has managed to get in time at each of the three outfield spots in those other five games.
Johnny Giavotella could make the 25 man roster, but that wouldn’t be very Royals of them.
The other guy battling for the final infield spot is Pedro Ciriaco. This guy has played seven defensive positions in the major leagues. The only spots he has not played are catcher and pitcher, but there is still time.
Even the guys that hold down first base and DH have played multiple positions.
Plus, Salvador Perez, the starting catcher, has played a few games at first. Catcher, Brett Hayes, played a game at short back in short season rookie ball, and has played both corner infield and corner outfield in his career since.
He has the inside track to get the backup catching gig over Francisco Pena, who is the odd one position guy.
With all that position flexibility, the Royals could be a fun and interesting watch this season, not to mention contenders.
They have four guys that can steal almost at will, to go along with a handful that have 20+ home run potential.
Possible trade prospect for this glove of all ‘trades’ club
In the spirit of utility guys, the Royals should make a trade with ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte of the New York Yankees.
Venditte has a glove that has been customized to fit on either hand, so he can pitch right handed or left handed, depending on the batter.
His ability to pitch with either hand led to some comical moments when he faced switch hitters. (Youtube link aforementioned above.)
With Kansas City, he would fit right in with the versatile arsenal he possesses. Surely the Yankees can trade KC him for some young Minor League player under the age of 30?
They even have flexibility in their coaching staff, their first base coach has the ability to be a stand-up comedian, cause introducing himself causes the twelve year old in all of us to giggle a little,“Hi, my name is Rusty Kuntz…”
Trade Scenarios for 2014/Pickups
J.T. Snow was a career .268 hitter, hit 189 home runs, tallied nearly 900 RBI’s, a career fielding percentage of .995. Snow won six Gold Gloves in his 16 year career. Oh, and one saved child.
The club could definitely pull of several late season trades for a player like this. Defensive specialists with a knack for clutch hits are the kind of guys who come through in the playoffs.
With the Royals at the cusp of their salary limit now for next campaign, they are better off to wait until half way through the year to add anyways. This way a player worth $12 – $15 MIL – is worth only half of that with 3 months left.
KC has a nice crop of young players in their Minor League system to trade in order to get a player of this kind of ilk.
2014 has to be a year this club goes for it all.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com ***
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A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Guest Royals Writer’ Shaun Kernahan for preparing today’s featured article.
Shaun was born and raised in Southern California, and has been a diehard baseball fan since childhood. He also follows football, soccer, and hockey, but baseball is his true sports love.
He played through high school before blowing out his shoulder and elbow, then turned to coaching, before finally writing about baseball.
Shaun also covers other sports on his own website, thestainsports.com here.
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Posted on December 17, 2013, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions and tagged @shaunkernahan on twitter, al central, alcides escobar, alex gordon, billy butler, brett hayes, detroit tigers, emilio bonifacio, eric hosmer, Francisco Pena, george brett, james loney, jarred dyson, justin maxwell, kansas city royals, matt dominguez, Norichika Aoki, pat venditte, pedro ciriaco, salvador perez, shaun kernahan. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.