Yesterday was a big day for non-usual-suspects breaking Royals news. First, Dave Gershman revealed that Tim Collins had made the Opening Day roster. Around the same time, reports began to hit Twitter that Aaron Crow had also made the O.D.R., also as a reliever. I'm not sure who can claim this one, but basically, it wasn't Dutton. Tanner Knowland has been out front in breaking the story. The Collins move was somewhat expected, and as a prospect that has been considered a reliever only for a few years now, not controversial. The Crow decision is, however. Crow, heading into his age 24 season, has been a starter almost exclusively throughout his baseball life.
So assuming that the Royals do send Crow to the bullpen, just what are they doing?
- This is a short term move: There's a theory that this is only a short stint in the bullpen for Crow. A chance for him to get some seasoning and work with the Major League staff for... two weeks... a month? Who knows? I'm sure that, logically speaking, you'd want to have your best teachers at the Major League level. That being said, if he's being promoted to work with McClure, what exactly does that say about the minor league instruction? Moreover, isn't there a simpler way, logistically, to do this? While a short-term stint in the bullpen wouldn't be the end of the world, at the very least, it would be quite odd. For better or worse, today's pitchers are creatures of extreme routine. This isn't merely because they are all over-paid wimps who aren't tough, but because the industry has collectively embraced routine to a huge degree. The "getting him work with McClure" ethos is actually part and parcel of that same larger pitch counts/throwdays/etc mindset. Only, you know, a weird scenario that will totally throw off his program for half a season.
For all we know, the answer could still be none of the above. The situation is still in flux, and there's been little on-record from the official sources one way or the other. I hope that the additional news reveals a coherent plan, because this looks like a mistake. Yes, the "bring him along as a reliever" theory is back en vogue. How many times has it been executed properly? Swingmen, long men, and Sunday starters don't exist anymore. Crow throwing 13 pitches to four batters every other day isn't going to ease him into starting. I don't want to hear about Brian Duensing just yet either. 13 fluky starts with a low BABIP and no strikeouts in a pitcher's park doesn't tell us much. Tick tock.