Royals News: Finnegan Sent DownFollow @RoyalsBlue_com
The Royals announced that Brandon Finnegan would be heading down to the minors to work as a starter. There had been some discussions that he may be able to make the club to work as a left handed reliever out of the pen, and when Tim Collins went down with an elbow injury, the talk intensified. Finnegan was never able to seize that opportunity however, and had a poor showing this spring, finishing with an 8.53 ERA in Cactus League play.
There are two schools of thought.
One is that Finnegan could have possibly helped the club in the short term, much like he was able to do at the end of last season and throughout the playoffs. If the Royals evaluators felt his stuff really was good enough to be a major league reliever, it would be tough to send a guy down when you were already short on left handed options. Dayton Moore, however, did a fantastic job in the offseason of providing his club with options.
Franklin Morales and Brian Flynn both provided excellent options to fill the void seemingly left with Tim Collins went down. They also afforded the Royals the opportunity to go with option B in the Finnegan plan, which is to allow him to work as a starter first. Being a first round pick, this seems the most logical. It is entirely possible he may not end up being a front end starter, but at least give him that opportunity. There has been talk that many scouts view him as someone who will most likely end up as a reliever or at best a back of the rotation arm.
I would like to see him fail as a starter first. It makes it tough to not put a guy in the pen if you know he can do it and the need is strong. That is why Yost and Moore had such a difficult decision. The problem is, you would essentially be giving up a starting pitching prospect in that scenario to do it. Let Finnegan try to climb through the ranks as a starter, and if he doesn't do it, then hopefully what is left is still a darn good left handed bullpen option. There is always a premium put on the "now" in sports, but what often makes small market clubs competitive is the ability to properly balance that sort of tradeoff. I don't envy having to make that choice, but I think they made the right one.
What Finnegan was able to provide to last years playoff push and then in the playoffs themselves was invaluable. That contribution alone solidified Finnegan as a solid draft pick, even if he doesn't provide much else. It may have only been a few innings, and you wouldn't be wrong to disagree with that sentiment, but at the end of the day, I don't believe the Royals were in the World Series if Brandon Finnegan wasn't the draft pick. There are no stats or sabermetrics that can quantify that sort of value, but its there, and for that Dayton Moore deserves a pat on the back. They drafted him to move quickly, even stating they thought he might be able to help in a playoff run, and he did.
With the roster all but completed before spring training even began, there were few spots left for the taking. There was some discussion of possibly taking 8 relievers to opening day with the hopes of hanging on to Rule 5 pick Jandel Gustave and/or having a backup option in case Tommy John surgery recipient Luke Hochevar was not quite ready to provide high leverage work in the first week of the season. Hochevar may yet end up on the disabled list, though most likely just the 15 day, in order to get dialed completely in before joining the club after being out for over a year.
***A big Royals Blue GET WELL SOON shout out to Royals superfan Jimmy Faseler.
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