The Royals announced today they have optioned left-handed pitcher Donnie Joseph to Omaha after his disastrous ninth inning last night that almost cost the Royals the ballgame, and are summoning back right-handed reliever Louis Coleman. This makes a lot of sense as the Tigers are a very right-handed heavy lineup (the only lefties on the roster are Alex Avila and the punchless Don Kelly) and the Royals were already carrying lefties Francisley Bueno and Tim Collins, oh and Donnie Joseph was terrible.
Coleman has been a solid right-handed reliever in his young Major League career, although he was quite awful in 18.1 innings this year for the Royals with a WHIP of 1.875. The right-handed specialist was allowing righties to hit .404 off him, so a trip to Omaha seemed to be appropriate. In 8.1 innings in Omah, Coleman seemed to get back on track with a 10-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 2.16 ERA.
While that move makes sense, we still need to address why on Earth the Royals are carrying thirteen pitchers to begin with. Right now their bullpen consists of:
Greg Holland - Closer Extraordinaire and General Bad Ass
Wade Davis - Setup Guy Extraordinaire and Lieutenant Bad Ass
Kelvin Herrera - Solid Setup Guy
Aaron Crow - Not-So-Solid, but Not Awful Setup Guy
Tim Collins - OMG Stop Bouncing the Ball in the Dirt Ten Feet in Front of Home Plate
Francisley Bueno - Lefty Specialist We Never Use
Louis Coleman - Righty Specialist and Long-Reliever
Michael Mariot - Human White Flag
That's eight relievers for a team with the third fewest reliever innings in the league so far this year (198 - only Seattle and Detroit have fewer). The team had an off-day Thursday, and hasn't had an extra-inning game since June 4. A Royals starter has gone at least five innings every time out since the May 31 Aaron Brooks debacle in Toronto. In four of the last six Royals games, the starter has gone at least seven innings. Our bullpein is well rested.
Only two other American League clubs are carrying as many as eight relievers - the Indians (who haven't had an off-day since June 3 and just had an 11-inning game) and the Blue Jays. I understand having options, but isn't this overkill?
While the offense is hitting better than it was, it still isn't a great offense by any stretch, and it would be nice to have another bat off the bench, especially to cover weaknesses in the lineup like a designated hitter that has to be lifted for a pinch-runner late in games, or a third baseman that can't hit lefties, or a right-fielder that can't hit at all. Justin Maxwell is hitting .314/.355/.570 in Omaha (about the same OPS Moustakas had when recalled, but in three times the games) and was pretty effective as a fourth outfielder for the Royals last year. It seems like its time to give him a shot at the very least as a bench bat, but perhaps even as a semi-regular over Nori Aoki.
But even if you don't think Maxwell is not the answer, clearly Michael Mariot is not. Let's get another bat up here that can help us, and let Michael Mariot get some work in on the farm.