Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Royals Roster Crunch

Yesterday, our fearless leader Dayton Moore delivered us his annual State of the Royals address. Aside from inspiring our squad to go out there and win the big one, GMDM also had some thoughts on the roster crunch. This quote is taken from Jeffrey Flanagan's article on the address, which you can read in full here.
"Moore indicated the team almost surely will break camp with 12 pitchers. He also said the team was leaning toward carrying five outfielders."
Of course, if we do the math we can determine that 25 minus 12 pitchers minus 5 outfielders minus 2 catchers leaves 6 infielders. According to Flanagan, Valencia is a "virtual lock" for the roster because he is out of options and under team control through 2017. Who knows if this is Flanagan blowing smoke or if Dayton Moore has actually stated that is the case. If it's true that Valencia will be another piece to the puzzle, then that means there will not be a backup middle infielder. This is something that I have a hard time imagining.

The ideal way to handle this situation would be to only carry 11 pitchers. Given the strength of the Royals bullpen and the number of innings that the starters should eat, I would say the Royals are better positioned than most teams to carry just 11. This would allow the Royals to have Justin Maxwell, Jarrod Dyson, Valencia, plus a middle infielder on the team.

If we assume that the Royals will carry 12 pitchers and a back up middle infielder, then that leaves just two spots between Dyson, Maxwell, and Valencia. Personally, I think Dyson's speed get him a spot. This would leave the Royals to choose between a platoon option/pinch hitter for third base or the outfield. Since Gordon and Aoki don't have extreme platoon splits and Mike Moustakas does, I think Valencia would make more sense for this roster.

Losing Maxwell would be a tough pill to swallow after his performance following his acquisition in August. There hasn't been much suggestion that the Royals are considering parting ways with Maxwell, but there is going to be a crunch. The Royals have invested in both Maxwell and Valencia. For Maxwell they gave up the back end potential of Kyle Smith. For Valencia they gave up an outfielder under control for six more seasons. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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