Since the starting lineup appears to be set unless injuries interfere, Kansas City's 2014 spring training looks to be an exercise for finding a proper bench. Only Lorenzo Cain and Salvador Perez are starting candidates to likely require occasional rest, so only a substitute catcher and a substitute outfielder are probably required to be available on some day-to-day basis. Instead of speculating, let's look at the way Ned Yost actually used his bench in 2013 and try to get a notion of what the Royals might require next season. Here is a list of the most common 2013 off-the-bench moves for Ned Yost:
1. Dyson runs for Butler. This was done eleven times, ten times not in National League parks. Jarrod scored three times in that situation, or 27% of the time.
2. Johnson fields for Tejada later in the game. This was done eleven times (twice in National League parks), but Omar Infante is here now and neither Johnson nor Tejada are on the roster. This move should be not applicable for 2014.
3. Perez fields for Kottaras later in the game. This was done seven times (once in National League parks). Salvador Perez did not always get a full day of rest. so maybe Ned does not actually believe Salvador needs to fully sit out any games.
4. Kottaras fields for Perez later in the game. This was done six times. At least twice, Perez was nicked and did not complete the game. I remember Salvador running into the dugout fence in Houston and he suffered in some different game a ball off his mask which brought him to his knees.
5. Johnson runs for Butler. This was done six times (once in National League parks). Elliot scored three times in that situation, or 50% of the time. Since Johnson is no longer with the team, mobility might be a factor in selecting a bench player.
7. Getz runs for Butler. This was done four times. Chris scored twice in that situation, or 50% of the time. Ned Yost had someone run for Billy Butler 26 times in 2013 (nine scored, 35%). Ned Yost had someone run for Billy Butler 20 times in 2012 (nine scored, or 45%).
8. Tejada pinch-hits for Moustakas. This was done four times (once in National League parks). Perhaps Valencia will inherit this role.
9. Tejada pinch-hits for Johnson. This was done four times. No Johnson.
10. Johnson fields for Giavotella later in the game. This was done four times. No Johnson.
11. Lough pinch-hits for Maxwell. This was done four times. No Lough.
All other bench moves by Ned Yost in 2013 happened three times or less. Ned Yost used pinch-hitters for 80 Plate Appearances in 2013, 32 less than the average American League team (112). Ned sent batters to the plate with a platoon advantage 55% of the time in 2013, less than the league average of 59%. Yost used pinch-runners 47 times last season and 16 scored a run (34% of the time). The average American League team tried for a sacrifice hit on 46 occasions last year, but Mr. Yost thought that 56 was correct for Kansas City (only Houston and Texas tried it more often).
It appears that based upon Ned Yost's managerial record, only a runner for Butler and someone to rarely spell Perez are actually needed on the Kansas City pine boards. Substitutes in case of injuries can stay sharp with regular Omaha playing-time and are just a phone call away.