Counting to Twenty-Five

Hannah Foslien

Everyone seems to think there is at least one more shoe to drop in the Royals' off-season, but if it doesn't, this is likely the twenty-five players that will head north next spring.

There is a lot of off-season left. In fact, more is left than has already transpired. Few are those that believe Dayton Moore is done dealing this winter (for better or worse), with the specter of some sort of blockbuster deal hanging over those of us that follow the club.

Even without the 'other shoe' ever actually dropping, there are almost certainly a minor move or two or three, a spring training surprise and worse, an injury or two, looming in the future. Knowing full well that things will change, either minutely or massively, let's take a stab at what the 2013 Opening Day roster will look like knowing only what we know now.

As a bit of warning, I have written this type of column two or three times each off-season (certainly using the same title at least three times) and it has quite often been followed later in the day by an actual roster move. I keep telling you guys: I actually do run the world.

THE TWENTY FIVE

STARTING PITCHING

  1. Jeremy Guthrie
  2. Ervin Santana
  3. Bruce Chen
  4. Luke Hochevar
  5. Luis Mendoza

I know. There is so much that has to go right with these five that it seems virtually impossible that this will be anywhere close to even league average. Guthrie has to be the guy he was the last half of 2012. Santana has to AT LEAST be the guy he was two years ago and the same goes for Chen. Hochevar has to, if not turn the corner, at least change lanes and Mendoza... You know, if I had to wager anyone was going to repeat their 2012, it would be him.

At some point, the Royals will welcome back Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino. When and how effective they will be in 2013 is up for debate, but maybe the organization will get lucky on the pitching injury/recovery side for once. While there is mixed opinions on what Jake Odorizzi might be in the majors, I will look forward to him being someone different with some hope at some point in June.

Will Smith will get a look, so will Everett Teaford and maybe Guillmero Moscoso, but the house money is on the above five right now.

THE BULLPEN

  1. Greg Holland
  2. Kelvin Herrera
  3. Aaron Crow
  4. Tim Collins
  5. Louis Coleman
  6. Francisely Bueno or Everett Teaford
  7. Juan Gutierrez or Moscoso.

The last two spots, maybe even three, are pretty much up for grabs. This is the spot where someone comes out of nowhere in spring training and makes the team, so it's a guess. The Royals will want two lefties, I'm sure, so that's Bueno or Teaford or maybe Donnie Joseph. The Royals also love reclamation projects and Gutierrez fits the mold. Soria? Maybe, but I think the market is getting away from Kansas City on that one. Truthfully, as long as the top four are in place, this is going to be very good bullpen.

Why seven relievers? Because the world would implode if you didn't have that many. Just be happy it is not eight.

THE CATCHERS

  1. Salvador Perez
  2. Brett Hayes

Too easy as they are the only two catchers on the 40 man roster. If everything goes right, the Royals will play Perez as much as any catcher in the league, so I understand if you stopped reading this section after 1. Salvador Perez.

INFIELD

  1. Eric Hosmer, 1B
  2. Billy Butler, DH
  3. Chris Getz, 2B
  4. Alcides Escobar, SS
  5. Mike Moustakas, 3B
  6. Tony Abreu, UIF
  7. Johnny Giavotella, Backup 2B

Anyone doubt that Ned Yost won't fall in love with Chris Getz all over again come March? That said, the Royals have no ability to really make a plan and stick with it at second - at least not since Mark Grudzielanek was in blue. There seems little point to send Giavotella back to AAA once more (unless they want to expose him to other defensive positions), so I can easily foresee this team carrying two guys who really can't play anywhere but second.

I like Abreu over Falu at the actual utility spot, but for no real reason. They both bring some ability to the table, but neither is likely to make anyone clamor to have them play everyday, either.

OUTFIELD

  1. Alex Gordon
  2. Lorenzo Cain
  3. Jeff Francoeur
  4. Jarrod Dyson

Can Cain stay healthy? How long will the Royals make us all wait to see Wil Myers. Gaming service time gets annoying more often than not, but at this point, waiting until late April to have Myers under control for almost seven years instead of six makes complete and total sense. So, assuming something really awful doesn't happen at the Winter Meetings (you know what I mean) Myers will surely be up sooner rather than later. I mean, he has to right? RIGHT?!

Now, the Royals could go with a fifth outfielder (David Lough) and one less second baseman. It makes more sense from a roster construction standpoint, but other than using Dyson to pinch run for Butler, the combination of Ned Yost and American League ball makes most of the bench pretty irrelevant.

That is the early December take on the 2013 Royals roster. Feels like 76-86 to me, but the winter is young: that might be a good thing.

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