The Royals assigned outfielders Jorge Bonifacio, Brett Phillips, and Bubba Starling to minor league camp, among a number of roster cuts today. Those moves likely mean Brian Goodwin will start the season as the regular right fielder although he could split time with Chris Owings. Bonifacio and Phillips both have an option year, and are coming off a season of offensive struggles. Speedster Terrance Gore also has a better shot at making this club with a less-crowded outfield.
Ned said the Royals, if the season started today, would alternate with Jorge Soler/Brian Goodwin at RF/DH, which pretty much was the thinking going into camp. But Ned left open, of course, the possibility of a roster move before Opening Day.— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) March 19, 2019
The Royals also assigned pitcher Drew Storen to minor league camp. The eight-year veteran signed a minor league deal with the Royals coming off Tommy John surgery, but is expected to remain in extended spring training to build arm strength, according to MLB.com reporter Jeffrey Flanagan. Also going to minor league camp are pitchers Richard Lovelady, Glenn Sparkman, Zach Lovvorn, catcher Xavier Fernandez, infielders Jecksson Flores and Nicky Lopez, and outfielder Elier Hernandez.
Brad Boxberger, Wily Peralta, Tim Hill, and Jake Diekman are locks for the bullpen, with Ian Kennedy taking a fifth spot with his demotion to the bullpen today. The Royals will only need a four-man rotation to begin the season, so if they carry 12 pitchers, that leaves just three spots up for grabs. Among the remaining candidates include Kevin McCarthy, Brian Flynn, Sam McWilliams, Chris Ellis, Michael Ynoa, Kyle Zimmer, Scott Barlow, and Heath Fillmyer.
According to Rustin Dodd, the rotation will have Brad Keller, Jakob Junis, Jorge Lopez, and Homer Bailey, with Danny Duffy a possibility to be the fifth starter when one is needed the second week of the year. Duffy will begin the year in extended spring training with shoulder stiffness, and if he can’t go then Heath Fillmyer seems like the most likely candidate to take his place.