It may seems hard to believe sometimes, but it was just five years ago that the Royals got hot and made a run for the post-season that would take them all the way to Game 7 of the World Series and would ultimately leave them just two runs short of winning a championship. They would cross that threshold the following season, but the 2014 season was a magical season that gave Kansas City its first taste of post-season baseball in three decades.
We all remember the stars from that team - Hos, Moose, LoCain, Esky, Gordo, Salvy, Big Game James, Yordano, and HDH. But you may have forgotten about some of the players that came up for just a bit that year, contributing a few plate appearances, or maybe an inning or two out of the pen. For nostalgia’s sake, let’s take a look back at some of the players from the 2014 Royals you may have forgotten about.
The Royals selected Ciriaco off waivers from the Padres in 2013, and he appeared in five games with the Royals that season as a utility infielder. He made the Opening Day roster in 2014, but appeared in just one game, where he scored a run as a pinch-runner, before the Royals designated him for assignment. He cleared waivers and was back up in May, replacing an injured Omar Infante. He appeared in 25 games, starting 11, and hit .213/.229/.255 with four stolen bases before the Royals designated him for assignment again at the end of June.
Where is he now? Ciriaco spent the rest of that season in Omaha, before playing with the Braves in 2015. He bounced around in the minors with the Tigers, Marlins, and Rangers and last played before playing in the Mexican League. Pedro signed with the Sussex County Miners in the independent Can-Am League to play with his brother Audy, but Pedro has been out with an injury all year.
Maxwell is best-remembered for his walk-off grand slam off then-Rangers pitcher Joakim Soria as the Royals tried to hang around the Wild Card race in 2013. Maxwell was a solid right-handed bat off the bench who could play all three outfield positions. He made the Opening Day roster the following season, but he didn’t find much playing time and failed to hit when he did get game action. He hit .138 in 16 games before the Royals sent him down in mid-May, coming back up for a few games in June before the Royals designated him for assignment to make room for Raul Ibanez.
Where is he now? Maxwell found more playing time with the Giants the next season. He spent a year in Boston’s system before briefly going to Korea. He retired after 2016 and is planning on attending dental school.
The Royals picked up Kratz in late June along with pitcher Liam Hendriks for third baseman Danny Valencia, a move done mostly to get Valencia out of the clubhouse, but also to provide an upgrade at backup catcher over Brett Hayes. Kratz would become the Maytag repairman, appearing in just 13 games over the last two months, with Salvy starting 35 of the final 36 games of the year.
Where is he now? Kratz did not make his MLB debut until age 30, but is still going strong at age 39, having played in 21 games for the Giants and Rays this year. He has appeared in 316 games for nine teams, and is currently playing for the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate.
The Royals won Paredes in a waiver wire war in the off-season before the 2014 season that took him from Houston to Miami to Baltimore, and finally to Kansas City. Paredes could play all over the field, and the Royals brought him up in late April to replace an injured Jarrod Dyson. Paredes appeared in just nine games before he was back on the waiver wire, again claimed by Baltimore.
Where is he now? Paredes had a solid season as a reserve for the Orioles in 2015, and he would play a bit for the Phillies and Blue Jays before going overseas to play in Japan and Korea. Still just 30, Paredes plays for the Somerset Patriots in the independent Atlantic League.
The Royals purchased Peguero from the Mariners the winter before the 2014 season, and the 27-year old outfielder had a monster season for Omaha that year, smacking 30 home runs. He came up as a September call up and appeared in four games with the Royals that fall. The team flirted with the idea of having him in the mix as a starting right fielder in 2015, but released him just a few weeks later.
Where is he now? Peguero bounced around in Triple-A with the Rangers, Red Sox, and Cardinals before becoming a slugger in Japan for Rakuten for three seasons. The 32-year old has spent this year playing in both Korea and Mexico.
The Royals claimed Nix off waivers from the Pirates at the end of August, days before the deadline to be eligible for the post-season, as the Royals wanted a veteran middle infielder. Nix would not record a hit in his nine plate appearances, but did make the post-season roster, and even made two plate appearances in the World Series, going hitless.
Where is he now? Nix’s last MLB game was in that World Series. He hung it up in 2015 after a full season in Triple-A. It is not clear what Nix is up to now, but he can be proud of his seven-year MLB career that included two post-seasons.
Some Royals Review readers were pining for Giavotella to be the starting second basemen, but you may have forgotten he was still on the 2014 team. He was called up in April after Omar Infante was hit in the face with a pitch, and came up again as a September callup, appearing in 12 games overall, hitting .216/.268/.324. He became an enthusiastic cheerleader in the dugout, and can be seen in many photos supporting his teammates during the post-season run.
Where is he now? Johnny’s stint with the Royals came to an end after that season as he was traded to the Angels to briefly serve as their starting second baseman. He appeared in a few games in Baltimore, and spent all of last season playing for the White Sox’ top affiliate before retiring to get his MBA from Tulane. He did bring back most of his Royals buddies back for his wedding in 2018.
Adams was a speedy former 13th-round pick who came up for the Royals as a September callup to play the outfield. He never started a game, coming into six games as a substitute, and going hitless in three plate appearances.
Where is he now? Adams spent another year in the organization before going on waivers and bouncing around a bit. He stuck with the Braves in 2017 enough to get into 85 games that year and spent most of this year playing in Triple-A with the Phillies before they let him go in June, leaving him to re-join the Braves.
The son of former manager Tony Pena, and brother of former shortstop Tony Pena, Jr., Francisco signed as a minor league free agent with the Royals and spent nearly the entire season in Omaha. When Salvador Perez injured his hand in May, the Royals brought Pena up as a precaution. He entered just one game, as a defensive replacement for one inning before being sent back down. Although he came back as a September callup, he never appeared in another game that year.
Where is he now? Pena got in a few more games with the Royals in 2015 before moving on to the Orioles and Cardinals. He has spent all of this season in Triple-A playing with the Cardinals and Giants.
Along with Kratz, Hendriks was acquired from the Blue Jays for Danny Valencia. In his first outing with the Royals, Hendriks spun a terrific seven-inning start against the Twins. He appeared in just six games with the Royals, with a 4.66 ERA in 19 1⁄3 innings.
Where is he now? The Royals traded Hendriks back to the Jays after the season, and after a year in Toronto he became an excellent reliever with the A’s, and made his first All-Star team this year.
Coleman, no relation to Royals reliever Louis Coleman, did have big leaguers in his family - his father (Joe) and grandfather (also Joe) both played in the big leagues. After the Cubs released Casey in April, the Royals took a chance on the 26-year old and stashed him in Omaha. He had three separate stints with the Royals, giving up eight runs in 12 innings.
Where is he now? Coleman has yet to appear in the big leagues again, bouncing around in the minors with the Mariners, Rays, Astros, Cubs again, and this year, with the Mets.
Mariot was a Nebraska Cornhusker taken in the 8th round by the Royals. The Royals brought him up in April and he spent all of May and June with the club, getting 25 innings with a 6.48 ERA.
Where is he now? Mariot spent three innings with the Royals in 2015 before the Phillies grabbed him off waivers. He rejoined the Royals last summer and pitched in Double-A and Triple-A and has spent this summer in Mexico and with Sugar Land in the independent Atlantic League.
Marks had been acquired from Oakland in the David DeJesus deal in 2010, but didn’t reach the big leagues until 2014. He came up for just one game in April and gave up three runs in two innings. The A’s wanted him back and purchased him from the Royals in May.
Where is he now? Marks got some more Major League action with the Rays in 2016 and 2017, retiring after that season.
Two bits for anyone that remembers Wilking Rodriguez from the 2014 Royals. Rodriguez was once a Rays prospect, signed by the Royals before the 2014 season as a minor league free agent. He appeared in two games, tossing two shutout innings, was sent back down and released in August.
Where is he now? Rodriguez last appeared in affiliated ball in 2015 in the Yankees system, but he did pitch a bit in the Venezuelan Winter League in 2017 and 2018.
Joseph was acquired from the Reds for reliever Jonathan Broxton in 2012, and made his MLB debut the next season, pitching in a handful of innings. The Royals brought him up in June, put him in the ninth inning of a game they were up 11-2, and he gave up six runs and made it an interesting ending.
Where is he now? The Marlins purchased Joseph later that year, and he spent the next two seasons in independent ball before hanging it up.
Brooks was a ninth-round pick who made his MLB debut on May 3 that year, giving up six runs in the ninth against the Tigers. He would actually fare worse his next time out, giving up seven runs while recording just two outs in a start against the Blue Jays. The Royals had seen enough and he stayed in Omaha the rest of the year.
Where is he now? Despite an inauspicious beginning, Brooks came back up in 2015 to appear in 13 games, 9 of them starts for the Royals. He was traded to the Athletics as part of the Ben Zobrist trade and is now in the Orioles rotation, with a 9.41 ERA in six starts.