This week, I'll be looking into how the Royals compared to the rest of the American League Central at second base. I've been going position by position looking at the Royals offensively to see where they might want to spend some off-season money in order to generate more runs. In the first base and catcher comparisons, the Royals have two positions hovering near the bottom, was second base the same?
So who played 2nd base for the Royals in 2012?
*sOPS+ is how the players compared offensively to the rest of the AL second basemen. 100 is about average while 90 is about 90% of average.
Chris Getz and Yuniesky Betancourt where essentially the same batter in 2012. They were also respectable offensive second basemen. Irving Falu was having a fantastic year everywhere he played, which kind of goes to show you that sometimes you just need to give a guy a chance.
In another year in which the Royals failed to compete, it's disturbing that so many plate appearances at second base went to players that are what they are. The 105 games that went to Getz and Betancourt could've been much more productive had they gone to Giavotella, Falu, Abreu or even Colon. Going into 2013 we should know by now what we have in some of these players and we still don't. Can Giavotella hit above AAA? Can Falu continue this kind of pace? We enter 2013 not knowing and that's a major problem with this front office.
So how did they do as a unit?
They actually put together a decent group compared to the other teams in the division. It was certainly a rather week position for the Central teams, but the Royals still managed to roll out the 2nd best offensive group. While it may have been the second best in the AL Central in 2012, it's one of the most open positions going into 2013. Yuniesky Betancourt is gone, Getz is due an arbitration salary increase, Giavotella, Falu and Colon all have potential and there is a chance the Royals go out into free agency.
The Royals have limited resources available and much bigger issues than second base. Chris Getz is going to cost over a $1m and there are cheaper in-house options available. I think this is one of the few positions where the Royals can't go wrong unless they repeat 2012 and sign redundant pieces for the position.
If they want to start Chris Getz, that's ok. If they want to find the right player in Giavotella, Colon and Falu, thet's ok too. If they want to dip into the free agent market and get a cheap replacement, that's fine as well. This isn't a large problem position for the team. It represents an area for opportunity, but not one of dire need. Resources spent here that could otherwise be used to bolster the starting rotation or right field is probably money wasted.