The Royals made another round of cuts yesterday, reassigning catcher Adam Moore and reliever Jon Rauch to minor league camp and optioning Jimmy Paredes (who may or may not have options remaining?) to Omaha. This pretty much clarifies the pitching staff, and leaves 31 players left in camp. The Royals expect to have their final roster set by Sunday, but would ideally like it set by tomorrow, when they leave for Milwaukee for two exhibition games.
Here is who is left in camp. We begin with the pitching staff, which is pretty much set.
RHP James Shields
LHP Jason Vargas
RHP Yordano Ventura
RHP Jeremy Guthrie
LHP Bruce Chen
Shields starts the opener in Detroit, Guthrie will start the home opener against Chicago. Interesting that Ventura will start the third game of the year, although I'm guessing its because they tabbed Guthrie to start the home opener early on.
Bruce Chen is funny, so he has that going for him.
RHP Greg Holland
RHP Kelvin Herrera
RHP Aaron Crow
LHP Tim Collins
LHP Francisely Bueno
RHP Louis Coleman
RHP Wade Davis
Disabled List: RHP Luke Hochevar
The Royals have not publicly admitted this is their bullpen, but only LHP Everett Teaford remains in camp as a non-roster invitee, and he's a long-shot to make the club. The Royals could look to pick another reliever off the waiver wire or through a trade and stash Coleman in Omaha after a rough outing this week, but barring a transaction, this will be the bullpen. The Royals have also denied they'll carry eleven pitchers to carry an extra bat, so this is likely the twelve-man pitching staff.
The only remaining roster questions are among position players.
Ramon Hernandez is still in camp, but as a free agent, as he opted out of his minor league contract last week. With Adam Moore being sent to Omaha to join Francisco Pena, Brett Hayes is the last catcher remaining to back up Sal.
Butler, Escobar, Hosmer, Infante, and Moustakas will all start. The question is do they cary one reserve infielder or two? The team picked up Danny Valencia this past winter to share some time at third base with Mike Moustakas, but he has no experience playing any other infield positions, limiting his utility. He has also been underwhelming with the bat in Arizona, which doesn't help his cause.
The Royals would like to carry someone that can fill in at shortstop and second base on occasion, and while Valencia has tried filling in at second, its unlikely he can be a full-time utility infielder. Infante seems increasingly likely to start the year on the disabled list, which may allow the Royals to carry Valencia and a reserve infielder who can start at second for a bit, then try to slip Valencia through waivers (since he's out of options) once Infante returns. The Alcides Escobar injury also throws a wrench into things if he's unable to start the year.
Ciriaco and Donald are the best bets to take that utility job if it comes to fruition. Both have MLB experience at both middle infield positions. Donald has hit very well this spring, but is not on the 40 man roster. Ciriaco has not hit well, but is on the 40 man roster. Ciriaco is probably the better defender and has hit slightly better in limited MLB action in his career. Colon and Giavotella are probably Omaha-bound, unless Texas decides one of the might be a decent fill-in option at second base for the injured Jurickson Profar.
Peguero is definitely Omaha-bound, although he is out of options. Barring a Justin Maxwell trade, the outfield group is probably set.
So what do you think the Royals do about the infield situation? The Valencia acquisition added a valuable asset, but boxed the Royals into a corner roster-wise. Do injuries to Infante and Escobar sort this out? Should the Royals be looking on the waiver wire to make any last-second roster additions? Does this look like a 2014 Championship roster to you?