The Kansas City Royals are on the verge of the first post-season game in 29 years, so now we get to discuss fun things like who should be on the post-season roster! Let's start with a few rules on post-season roster eligibility.
Anyone is eligible to be on the post-season roster if they were:
- on the 25 man major league roster, or
- on the disabled list (7, 15, or 60 day DL), or
- on the suspended list, or
- on bereavement leave, or
- on military active duty
as of midnight on August 31st, just before major league rosters expanded. In addition to that, teams may add any player who was in the organization (minor league or major league) as of August 31 to replace a player that was injured when playoff rosters were submitted. For the Royals, this means they can replace Luke Hochevar, Christian Colon and Michael Mariot, all of whom were on the Major League disabled list on August 31, and they can be replaced by anyone from the organization, including guys like Terrance Gore and Brandon Finnegan, who were called up after August 31.
So who should be on the roster? Let's start with the no-brainers. The starters:
C Salvador Perez
1B Eric Hosmer
2B Omar Infante
SS Alcides Escobar
3B Mike Moustakas
LF Alex Gordon
CF Lorenzo Cain
RF Nori Aoki
DH Billy Butler
C Erik Kratz
OF Jarrod Dyson
DH Josh Willingham
James Shields will start the Wild Card game or Game One of the American League Divisional Series if the Royals are somehow able to win the division. He's in.
The relief pitchers:
RHP Greg Holland
RHP Wade Davis
RHP Kelvin Herrera
RHP Jason Frasor
That is 17 roster spots right there, room for 8 more.
Here are your top candidates:
OF Terrence Gore: Gore has proven himself to be a very valuable weapon as a pinch-runner. He's pretty much a no-doubter at this point. He would replace one of the injured players, as he was not on the active roster on August 31.
OF Raul Ibanez: Josh Willingham, if healthy, would be the only other real bench bat available. Carlos Peguero actually probably makes slightly more sense than the washed-up Ibanez, as he can at least play the field passably, but there is no way the Royals take Peguero over the veteran Raul Ibanez. He's probably in.
OF Lane Adams: Adams would also make for a pretty good pinch-runner, but having three (Dyson, Gore, Adams) is probably unnecessary.
IF Jayson Nix or IF Johnny Giavotella: Most likely only one of these players would be needed as the reserve infielder. Nix can passably play shortstop in the case of an Alcides Escobar injury, while Giavotella is a liability in the field, so Nix almost certainly gets the call.
LHP Danny Duffy: The Royals don't have a need for their starting rotation for a one-game Wild Card. I can't imagine they would want to risk burning Duffy in relief and will instead save him for the ALDS. EDIT: Teams are allowed to change the roster for each round of the playoffs. For the Wild Card, he's probably off the roster.
RHP Yordano Ventura: Ditto for Ventura.
LHP Jason Vargas: Shaffe pointed out that the Royals can probably avoid having to pitch a fourth starter in the ALDS if they are the Wild Card first. So Vargas should probably be available out of the pen as a long-man. The Royals might be wise to keep him available for the Wild Card.
RHP Jeremy Guthrie: Guthrie should almost certainly be the odd-man out of the rotation no matter what. I think he can still be an effective long-reliever if needed, so he has some value on the Wild Card roster.
RHP Liam Hendriks: If Guthrie and/or Vargas are available as long-relievers, there is no need for Hendriks.
LHP Brandon Finnegan: Finnegan has been impressive in September and seems like a no-brainer at this point. He would replace one of the injured players, as he was not on the active roster on August 31.
LHP Scott Downs: Lefties are hitting just .225/.287/.363 against Downs this year. Its not his fault Ned Yost mis-manages him. He has value on a post-season roster.
LHP Francisley Bueno: Lefties are hitting just .206/.235/.270 against Bueno, although in lower leverage situations. I can see him having a role, but the Royals seem to prefer having him pitch in slop time, which isn't needed with all these long-relievers available.
LHP Tim Collins: Collins pitched well in Omaha but hasn't proved he can get Major League hitters out this year. Too risky. Also, he wasn't on the active roster on August 31, so the Royals would have to opened up a spot for him.
RHP Louis Coleman: Ditto for Coleman.
RHP Aaron Crow: Crow has been a disaster this year and should not be anywhere near the post-season roster. The Royals will almost certainly include him. They will have to add him as a replacement for one of the injured players however, as he was in Northwest Arkansas on August 31.
Others: C Francisco Pena, OF Carlos Peguero, RHP Casey Coleman
If I had to guess, I'd say the remaining eight spots go to Gore, Ibanez, Nix, Vargas, Guthrie, Finnegan, Downs, and Crow. If the Royals reach the League Divisional Series, they'll add Yordano Ventura and Danny Duffy and probably drop Crow, but who else? Downs? Ibanez? Guthrie?
What do you think?