So much for spring compeition!
There is snow on the ground here in Kansas City as the Royals host FanFest this weekend, but that didn't stop Ned from strategizing on his 2014 rotation. He announced that recently re-signed left-handed veteran pitcher Bruce Chen has already won a spot in the starting rotation.
"My mindset is you can't evaluate Bruce in Spring Training," Yost said. "He's not one of those guys who can compete, because he's not a Spring Training pitcher.
"But once the bell rings, he's been phenomenal for us. He's been as consistent as anybody can be. You know what you get with Bruce. You're going to go out and get six or seven, for the most part, solid innings that are going to keep you in the game."
Chen will be slotted behind James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie, and Jason Vargas. This means the fifth spot in the rotation is a competition among Danny Duffy, Yordano Ventura, Luke Hochevar, Wade Davis, and the bloated corpse of Brad Penny. Duffy would seem like the heavy favorite as he has shown flashes of brilliance, and has more seasoning than a guy like Ventura.
That would leave Ventura in Omaha to begin the year. This might actually be good news on two fronts - one, it bumps his service time back a bit, delaying free agency and possibly arbitration, and two, it probably wouldn't hurt to get more seasoning. It does run contrary to this quote from earlier this winter though:
So, in his (Ventura’s) mind, he should come into camp like, ‘It’s my job to lose.’ Somebody’s going to have to take it from him or he’s going to have to give it away," Picollo said. "But I do think he’s in a great position to win a spot in that rotation and I do think he’s ready for it at this point."
Shields/Guthrie/Vargas/Chen/Duffy. Does that seem like a playoff rotation to you?