I had a brief moment of happiness last week when Dutton reported that Gload was battling for a roster spot. Sure, it had only taken the current leadership team two full years to realize that Gload was wasted space on the roster, but my life is sufficiently pathetic enough to overlook this emotionally. The Royals have done enough for Gload: they gave him the biggest contract of his career, and even threw a few extra hundred thousand his way when Hillman's constant playing of him snagged Rossy some bonus money. Down the road, the Royals have likely played Gload enough to make him "established" enough to earn another Major League gig as a bench guy, and a handful of future Spring Training invites.
Only I'm far from certain that we've seen the last of Gload. Instead, the only guaranteed thing looks to be Ryan Shealy not making the team. As for Gload, if Mark Teahen gets traded, just who do you think will slide into the fourth outfielder role?
Although spring training stats should be considered meaningless, playing time is another matter. Playing time and usage can be indicative of what the team is at least thinking about. Gload has played a lot this spring. As of Monday night, Gload had appeared in 10 games, snagging a pretty high for ST total of 24 plate appearances. Hillman is still sending Gload out there. Sometimes Gload's at first, sometimes he's in left, sometimes he's in right. All that matters is that Gload gets his regular burn. Because, because, well... nobody's ever really been able to figure that out. To date, Gload's earned more plate appearances than any Royals outfielder not named DeJesus or Crisp, while also eating into Shealy and Kila's playing time at first. What a great guy to have around! That's versatility, baby!
Look, I know a portion of Shane Costa's or Jose Duarte's or D-Rob's or heaven forbid Lubanski's playing time in early March is not a top of the page issue, but it is an issue that should at least be considered. Isn't the biggest benefit of livin' la vida Gloada that he's a known quantity? A venerable veteran of the highest grittiness and integrity that already knows how to do everything the right way ('cept hit)? So essentially, Hillman's continued playing of Gload is either just entirely pointless and without any upside (yay!) or it's worse, it's a sign of Gload-on-roster creep and something that's taking away from 1-2% of somebody else's development/practice/letting the guys in the sunglasses see him more time. Apparently, although Moore has realized that Gload is not a starting first-baseman, he may be part of the outfield. If Mark Teahen actually is traded, Gload's chances increase further.
(The decision to jettison German just keeps getting better, doesn't it?)
Meanwhile, despite some mid-winter delusions that a) Ryan Shealy could be a cheap and useful player and b) the Royals might have a place for him in some convoluted Jacobs/Butler/Shealy menage, it's now increasingly clear that Shealy -- who does not have an option left -- will be apartment hunting again soon. It's the last turn in the bizarre Royals career of Shealy, who went from supposedly brilliant pickup, to one of the worst players in baseball, to someone who didn't look so bad, to someone who was finally passed over for a more expensive and only marginally better player. Odd. In retrospect, the whole idea, which never really reached a coherent expression, but just bubbled under in the comments people would make and things we would wonder about, seems fairly insane. What's even more insane is that you could create a context in which Shealy is your defensive-sub guy at first and have it be borderline palatable. So, to those of us who sorta half-way thought about this possibility, when we consider how ultimately non-good Shealy really is (or is he?) we have to ask, is the joke on the Royals, or is it on us?
So in sum: Shealy is gone, Kila is headed to AAA, and Mike Jacobs will get to lead the team in outs made and doubles created for the opposition between his legs.I feel like the stupidest blogger in the world for even halfway thinking there was something to sort out. There wasn't. Ever.
Remember earlier in this post when I said I was pathetic? Well, in the face of eye-bleeding tedium, I went through every spring box score and noted how Shealy and Gload were used.
For your viewing pleasure:
|Gload - Position (PAs)||Shealy - Position (PAs)|
|2/25||LF (3)||DH (1)|
|2/26||1B (1)||- (1)|
|2/28||LF/1B (2)||DH (2)|
|3/3||RF (3)||DH (2)|
|3/4||1B (3)||DH (1)|
|3/6||1B (3)||1B (2)|
|3/7||RF (3)||1B (2)|
|3/9||RF (2)||1B (0)|
Look, I live in Washington D.C. I am a blogger and a middling one at that. The extent of my access is a few emails I've exchanged with guys that have it. So read more into something that Dutton or Kaegel seems to be hinting at regarding this sort of thing than anything I might say. That being said, I can't really understand where there's a clear line of evidence suggesting that Gload is on his way out.
The fanbase of the 29th most popular team in the sport anxiously awaits the fate of Rossy...