Royals Making Moves in Surprise

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The Kansas City Royals have made some roster moves today, which should provide some insight as to what the opening day roster will look like. While there is still some time left in the Cactus League, Spring officially starts today, and opening day is just a little bit over a week away. Here is a look at some of the Royals recent moves, and who is expected to make the trip to Kansas City. 

Let’s start with some of the better known names. Brett Phillips, acquired last Summer from the Brewers, has been optioned to Omaha. This was no surprise as he had options left, and was not lighting the world on fire in Surprise. With a log jam in right field, Jorge Bonifacio also had his option to AAA exercised. This move was potentially also influenced by his PED suspension last year.  Many (myself included) thought this could be a precedent set forth by GMDM for his transgressions. This leaves the RF job to Brian Goodwin, who has had a dreadful Cactus League. But his lack of options speak loudest and he should receive the major league nod in an effort to store more players.

The name I find hardest to deal with not being announced on Opening Day is crowd favorite Richard Lovelady. Not on the 40 man roster, it is understandable to see why he was reassigned, but painful none-the-less. Another pitcher optioned, who actually saw some time last year in KC, was Glen Sparkman.  Sparkman was used a lot early in Spring, but didn’t seem to grab the opportunity by the horns. Drew Storen was also re-assigned, and this could spell trouble for him. With a 15 ERA in Arizona, his resurgence has been called into question. He will attend extended Spring Training and be re-evaluated at that point. The hope is he is a flappable piece come mid-season. But that doesn’t seem to be likely at this point.

Other lesser known names that have been optioned to minor league camps include pitcher Zach Lovvern, cather Xavier Fernandez, infielders Nicky Lopez and Jecksson Flores, and outfielder Elier Hernandez. 

Which leads me to Bubba Starling, who was re-assigned to minor league camp as well. After an unbelievably hot start to the spring, Bubba did cool off a bit.  But optimism still surrounds his intriguing skill set. He is also not on the 40 man roster, so some things would have to happen for him to be able to jump to the majors this season. But that doesn’t mean we should put off building the statue yet.

Now let’s talk about some positives on the roster. First off, there are still 37 players in camp, and only 25 of them will be able to travel to KC. With Jesse Hahn and Trevor Oaks on the 60-day DL two roster spots are open on the 40 man. Thus a few non-roster invitees may find themselves on the opening day roster. Homer Bailey has probably the best chance of making that spot. With Danny Duffy just starting to throw again, it will be at least two weeks into the season before he returns. Bailey’s experience as a starter makes him a clear choice to fill that role. 

The other spot that has us all jumping up and down is Kyle Zimmer. Zimmer finally gave up a run last night against the Cubs. It was his first run in over 9.2 innings.  His sub 1 ERA in the thin Arizona Cactus League is definitely eye opening.

He will be a welcome sight to many, and a great story about never giving up. I hope he makes it, but there are still many more decisions to be made before March 28th.

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