Yesterday the Royals annouced a slew of Spring Training cuts and demotions to AAA. Theres something high school about the waning days of Spring Training, with cuts and all, although I doubt professional teams release their information quite like an 8th grade basketball team does: straight paper on the wall, baby.
(Hold that thought. This is the Royals.)
Onto the moves:
Reassigned RHPs Kyle Snyder, Adam Bernero, David Elder, Bobby Keppel, Joe Nelson and OFs Chad Allen and Kerry Robinson to Triple-A Omaha. Reassigned C Mark Tupman to Double-A Wichita. Optioned LHP J.P Howell and INFs Andres Blanco, Ruben Gotay and Justin Huber to Triple-A Omaha.
Some mild surprises here, although those are also the moves most likely to be mitigated by the inevitable in-season callups that the team has fancied. Seeing J.P. Howell, Ruben Gotay and Justin Huber sent down was a bit surprising, but I guess thats what options are for.
The winners here are Esteban German as the apparent backup at 2nd base and any number of pitchers competing for one of the last slots. German's ability to backup Teahen at 3rd also appears useful, especially on a team that has lots of generally poor defenders lying around at multiple positions.
I'm not sure someone like Leo Nunez, Jimma' Gobble or Elmer Dessens is really much more useful than Howell in a mopup type role, but the Royals seem rigidly dedicated to grooming Howell in their own way: lots of ups and downs, strict adherence to a Starter's Role and a near immediate MLB debut. (So far, so good.)
And then there's K-Rob, who despite a strong spring and some superficial athleticism didn't get the invite he wanted. This may be a crossroads moment for him, as the distance between his glory days as a LaRussa-scrub speed away from him like a line-drive up the middle.
Meanwhile, Huber gets to go back to Omaha for a couple weeks or more. If nothing else, I'm sure he gets alot of mileage out of the whole Australian-baseball player angle with the chicks at TGI Fridays, Hooters and Applebees, which isn't exactly a fate worth turning down as March heads towards April.