After the game yesterday the Royals made several player moves:
- Did not pick up the $3.5M option of Joe Randa
- Bought out Juan Gonzales' contract for $500K
- Outrighted Aaron Guiel, Dee Brown, Alberto Castillo, Wilton Guerrero, Matt Kinney, and Justin Huisman
Castillo may be back if Benito Santiago won't accept a backup role. Hopefully, Santiago won't and Baird can move him and his $+2M salary before spring training. Guiel will become a free agent but sounds like he wants to stay with the Royals. If he recovers from his eye problems by spring training (a big if it seems) I think he'd be an ideal 4th outfielder. Brown, Kinney and Huisman will be free agents and the Royals won't pursue them. To me, Kinney still looks like a guy who can throw but Brown and his slow bat should definitely be done and Bukvich outperformed Huisman in Omaha so that probably leaves him out. Dennys Reyes, Desi Relaford and Kelly Stinnett can also elect free agency. I hope Baird signs Reyes but I think it's time for Relaford to move on, if only so that Tony Pena has one less reason to play a middle infielder in the outfield. Stinnet isn't really needed and so will drift into the Backup Catcher Oort Cloud to be captured again by some other team's gravitational field.
I mentioned in my previous post that I thought the rotation should be: Grienke, Bautista, Hernandez, and a new pitcher. I know that leaves out Darrell May and Brian Anderson but of course the Royals will in fact go with a 5-man rotation and so either May or Anderson will be in there with the other in a long relief role unless Baird can move one or both.
Baird mentioned this morning on 610AM that his priorities included a left-fielder, an "innings eater", a fourth outfielder, a stop-gap third baseman, some relief help, and a utility infielder. I heard a suggestion on the radio the other day that I kind of like. Make Ken Harvey the stop-gap third baseman. He played there in college and he's not really a good firstbaseman (yes, Mike Sweeney is worse). That would free Sweeney and Calvin Pickering to alternate at DH/1B with Stairs playing right field most of the time. I know that once again sounds like a brutal defensive arrangement but it does utilize the resources they have. It will also increase Harvey's trade value, something Baird should be exploring.
Baird also said that he doesn't project 24 year-old Miguel Asencio to be ready until June. However, with a career K/9 rate of 4.46 I wouldn't expect production long term. Hopefully, he'll look good when he comes back and Baird can unload him.