The Royals made a decent addition with Elliot Johnson yesterday as they finished the trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. Â While Johnson’s stats won’t get you excited as he’s shown very little with the bat that in his 200 major league games his ability to play every major league position outside of catcher in the bigs could help the bench.
As I’ve written earlier in the offseason the Royals are very weak at second base in terms of talent that we’ve seen in the majors. Â Prior to this acquisition I didn’t see any way in which Giavotella could wrangle away the job as I doubt Yost would want to be without someone who could play shortstop. Â Previously Miguel Tejada was the only guy on the roster that could step in making it more logical to keep a Getz-Tejada platoon at 2nd. Â With this move I believe Gio is in play if he can outperform Getz during the spring. Â Its still a longshot for Gio but at least the Royals will be picking the winner of the competition during the spring. Â Link – Gio listed as a breakout player by BP.
I like most of you wasn’t happy with the Luke Hochevar deal and the supposed 69th corner that he is going to turn due to the fact that he saw a flaw in his delivery out of the stretch. Â After I get beyond the obvious, where the heck were you Luke and why did it take you so long to actually look into this, I realize that the Royals pen should be stronger with the addition of two long men. Â Just taking a quick look at game logs the Royals have used Tim Collins in fifteen games the last two years that ended in a five or more run loss. Â That’s just Collins tossing an extra 7 or 8 innings per season but those pitches and the warm up required for them could be significant down the stretch if the Royals are playing important games. Â Whoever is left in the pen after the spring competition between Luke, Bruce and Mendoza could help save the better arms in Herrera, Collins and Crow during the season.
In addition to Johnson and the extra starter in the pen the Royals have added George Kottaras as a bat they can use off the bench. Â With players like Johnson and Dyson on the pine Ned Yost has the opportunity to pinch hit for Cain, Escobar, Gio or Frenchy with Kottaras against difficult right-handed relief pitchers. Â Most managers typically don’t like this play as it leaves them without a capable backup catcher if an injury occurs but for this team the margin of error is small in terms of winning a division and Kottaras bat could make the difference in a one game situation.
All in all the flexibility with the roster has improved if the talent hasn’t as much as I would like.