Tag Archive | "Endy Chavez"

Fourteen Players, Three Roster Spots

For the first time in several years, the Royals lineup, starting rotation and bullpen is pretty much set, barring injuries. But opportunities exist for some players to get a spot on the bench.

springtraining2013

It’s likely Manager Ned Yost will go with 12 pitchers and a backup catcher. Add the eight position players and the designated hitter and there’s only three reserve player spots available. How many players are vying for those three spots? Fourteen.

Of the fourteen, three of them are long shots. Infielder Brandon Wood signed a Minor League contract and is a non-roster invitee. A former top prospect with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Wood’s last stint in the Majors was 99 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011.

Royals Minor League infielder Anthony Seratelli is a non-roster invitee who provides Spring Training depth, but little else.

Non-roster invitee outfielder Luis Durango played 39 Major League games from 2009-2011 with the San Diego Padres and Houston Astros. He’s likely be in AAA Omaha’s outfield or could be released.

The next group could make the club, but a few things are going to have to go their way. Non-roster invitee Xavier Nady is an 11-year Major League veteran who’s played with several different teams. He’ll get an opportunity as a reserve outfielder or first baseman.

Former Royal and non-roster invitee Endy Chavez will see some time in the outfield during Spring Training, but barring a great spring performance or injuries to other players, Chavez has a slim chance.

The Player to be Named Later in the James Shields/Wade Davis trade is utility infielder Elliot Johnson, who played 123 games for the Tampa Rays last year. Being the Royals newest player, Johnson will get a long look as a backup to shortstop Alcides Escobar.

Non-roster invitee outfielder Willy Taveras provides some speed and seven years of Major League experience. If he has a good spring, he could be a reserve outfielder if Jarrod Dyson falters.

Royals infield prospect Christian Colon only has two seasons of pro baseball, but if he plays well, he might be in the mix for second base. But if the Royals think he needs more seasoning, he’ll go back to the Minors.

Outfielder David Lough played 20 games last year for the Royals, but Dyson will have to stumble for Lough to make the club.

And there’s longtime Royals farmhand Irving Falu, who played 24 games for the Royals in 2012. Seeing how few opportunities the club gives him, it’s likely Falu ends up in Omaha, even if he deserves a real shot of making the club as a utility infielder.

The next group is the most likely to make the club, due to their contributions to the Royals last year or their veteran status.

Whoever loses the second base battle between Chris Getz and Johnny Giavotella will end up on the bench, so that leaves two spots on the bench.

Outfielder Jarrod Dyson had a solid 2012 filling in for the oft-injured Lorenzo Cain. Dyson isn’t much of a hitter, but he’s got speed and plays a decent outfield. If Cain stays healthy, Dyson is a good fourth outfielder and will take the second spot on the bench, with one spot left.

So who gets the last reserve roster spot? I believe the Royals will give it to six-time All-Star and 2002 MVP infielder Miguel Tejada. He’s not the player he was ten years ago, but as a bench player in a limited utility role, he can play a serviceable third base, shortstop and even second. Perhaps “veteran leadership” is a baseball myth, but Tejada has the right attitude to provide guidance for a young team.

Sure, some fans might think the Royals have no business giving a roster spot to a 38-year old player whose best days are behind him. But he’s not taking the starting job of a younger player and you have to admit he’s probably a better player than Yuni Betancourt.

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The Royals “Come To Play,” but will they have “game” this season?

In a few days, the Royals begin their 2013 season in Surprise, Arizona. The pitchers and catchers report early next week and the position players a few days later. While there was optimism last year, the team believes 2013 is the year they will contend in the American League Central.

Come To Play 2013

The Royals focused their offseason on starting pitching, trading for starting pitchers Ervin Santana, James Shields and Wade Davis. Jeremy Guthrie stayed with the team and signed a three-year, $25MM deal. Except for signing a few veteran position players like Miguel Tejada, Xavier Nady and Endy Chavez to Minor League contracts, the position players are pretty much set. Despite these moves, there’s still some questions coming into Spring Training.

How much will the starting rotation improve? Last year, the Royals starting rotation was the weak link with a 5.01 ERA and 890 total innings pitched, which was 13th in the American League. The Royals bullpen had a 3.17 ERA and pitched 561.1 innings, making them the most worked bullpen in the A.L.

General Manager Dayton Moore wants the starting rotation to pitch at least 1,000 innings this year, an 110 inning improvement. Last year, only two teams had their starting rotation pitch at least 1,000 innings, the Seattle Mariners (1002.2) and the New York Yankees (1001.1).

If Shields pitches like an ace, Guthrie pitches like he did the second half of 2012, Davis and Santana find their starting pitching mojo and Luke Hochevar finds some consistency, it’s possible the starting rotation pitches 1,000 innings. But that’s a lot of if’s and if there is long-term or season ending injuries, the Royals season could be in jeopardy.

Will Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer improve in 2013? Moustakas played pretty well the first half of 2012, but ended up with a .242/.296/.412 average. His defense was good, but his offense fell short. Hosmer struggled all season, ending up with a .232/.304/.359 average. During the offseason, Hosmer worked with his brother to help improve his swing, so there’s hope for improvement. The Royals need Moustakas and Hosmer to live up to their potential if they want to contend this season.

Will Jeff Francoeur bounce back from his dismal 2012? Frenchy is the player fans love to hate, but like it or not, he’s the starting right fielder this season. He has good outfield defense, and if he just plays league average offense, he’ll be better than last year. But if his downward spiral continues, we’ll be seeing Jarrod Dyson, David Lough or someone else patrolling right field.

Can the Royals keep their key players from long-term injuries? Every team has to deal with injuries, but long-term injuries are especially painful for teams like the Royals. Part of the disappointing 2012 season were the injuries to catcher Salvador Perez, center fielder Lorenzo Cain and pitchers Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino. Perez and Cain missed the bulk of the 2012 season and Duffy and Paulino won’t return until the middle of the 2013 season. Injuries happen, but the Royals can’t afford to have injuries like they had last year.

Can the Royals stay away from losing streaks? We all know about the 12-game meltdown last April, but the Royals also had a five-game losing streak in July and a six-game losing streak in September. That’s 23 games worth of losing streaks. If the Royals went 11-12 in those games, they would finish with an 83-79 record, which they haven’t done since 2003. Yes, they wouldn’t make the playoffs. But we’d be talking about the improvements the Royals made in 2012 and the moves the Royals made this offseason would be met with more optimism. And if the Royals have another 12-game losing streak in April, Ned Yost and Dayton Moore might be out of a job by May.

The Royals are a better team than last year, but they have to stay away from long-term injuries and multi-game losing streaks. Moustakas and Hosmer have to improve and Francoeur can’t repeat his 2012 performance. There’s more reason to hope than ever, but the Royals are still a young team and they have their work cut out for them this season.

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Royals Sign Endy Chavez

EndyChavez

KANSAS CITY, MO (December 31, 2012) – The Kansas City Royals today announced the club has signed outfielder Endy Chavez to a minor league contract for 2013.  The Royals plan to announce the club’s Major League camp non-roster invitees at a later date.

Chavez, 34, is an 11-year Major League veteran.  He made his debut in 2001 with Kansas City after the Royals selected him from the New York Mets organization in the 2000 Rule 5 Draft.  The 6-foot resident of Valencia, Venezuela, is a career .269 hitter with 118 doubles, 32 triples, 26 home runs, 229 RBI, 341 runs and 100 stolen bases for the Royals (2001), Expos (2002-04), Nationals (2005), Phillies (2005), Mets (2006-08), Mariners (2009), Rangers (2011) and Orioles (2012).  The left-handed hitting and throwing outfielder appeared in 64 regular season games with Baltimore last season, also playing in three Division Series games against the Yankees.

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Rangers Bring Back Cardinal Memories

The Texas Rangers will open this year’s World Series at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. It will mark the first time in franchise history that the Rangers will have played a game on that field. Remarkably, they become the final Major League Baseball team to do so.

So throw away your match up calculators and your sabermetrical slide rules, this one might just be old fashioned baseball. The way the World Series was intended to be. Back before Interleague play and wild cards. When two teams seen each other for the first time and went to battle.

That’s not to say that a few Rangers will not cause some flashbacks for Cardinal fans, however.

A look through the Texas roster reveals a few players the Cardinals know well from their time with other franchises. Guys like Yorvit Torrealba and Adrian Beltre spent their share of time around the National League. Matt Treanor, who started and ended the year in Texas, spent some time in Kansas City this year with our Royals’ fans. But, there are two names that jump off the page.

Darren Oliver
Darren Oliver has played ten seasons for the Rangers over three different stints in his career. That is ten of his total 18. Admist those 18 seasons, he has played in eight different teams’ uniforms. It was on the trading deadline in 1998 that Oliver was traded from the Texas Rangers with Fernando Tatis and a player to be named later (Mark Little) to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Todd Stottlemyre and Royce Clayton.

He spent the next year and half in a Cardinal uniform as a starting pitcher. The lefty would post a 13-13 record over 40 starts. He was far from dominant but found himself serviceable and consistent. He posted an earned run average of 4.26 the last half of 1998 and remarkably posted the same over the course 1999. He would sign once again with the Texas Rangers before the 2000 season.

Endy Chavez
Endy Chavez has never played for the Cardinals. A defensive stand out when he was younger, he did find himself on the opposite end of a National League Championship Series from the Cardinals in 2006. During the nail biting game seven of that series, with Jim Edmonds on first Scott Rolen drove a ball to deep left field and it was Chavez that, well, did this:

Cardinal fans will see a few familiar faces in the Texas dugout but not many.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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Jimmy Ballgame

Had his life spanned a more recent era of Cardinals baseball, Jack Buck’s Hall of Fame speech might’ve included his gratefulness for the arm of Chris Carpenter or Adam Wainwright, and he probably would have touted the bat of Albert Pujols. But I think there’s little doubt that he’d have been thankful for the glove of Jim Edmonds.

Edmonds’ 8 years as a Cardinal provided fans with almost nightly amazement!

I grew up watching Cardinals baseball in the 1980’s, and in doing so developed a love for defense at a very young age. You don’t spend your childhood watching Ozzie Smith win 13 straight gold glove awards and not take notice as to how important solid defensive skills are. Edmonds brought back to the forefront an important piece of the game that, much like bunting for a hit, seems to have faded in recent years: He brought back a focus on defensive excellence.

“80% of the earth’s surface is covered by water, the other 20% is covered by Jim Edmonds.”

That’s one of my favorite sayings, and I grin every time I hear it, because it truly seemed that way–a ball hit into the air & anywhere near centerfield was far from safe. And if you’re thinking of hitting a HR over the 400’ sign on the CF wall, you’d better hit the ball at least 408’, or there’s a good chance Jimmy’s bringing it back! I can recall twice seeing a player on television mouth “Oh my gosh!”. My favorite was Pettitte’s (obviously), but Edmonds did it too…after he amazed even himself by robbing a homerun (in, I believe, Cincinnati). Watching Edmonds made me truly appreciate the Endy Chavez catch–the finest catch I have ever seen…and that coming from a guy who watched Jim Edmonds play every day.

Eight gold glove awards, two top-five finishes in MVP voting, four All-Star appearances, one big game six homerun, and countless catches that left many-a-jaw on St. Louis area floors over the years are just a few of the ways we’ll remember “Jimmy Ballgame”. A member of the “MV3”, Edmonds was no slouch at the plate & could handle the lumber with the best of them. A beautiful left-handed swing, comparable to Griffey Jr, and that famous upper-cut made Edmonds’ stance & swing recognizable to millions.

Oct 20, 2004: Edmonds’ 12th inning HR forces game 7

Towards the end of his career, he bounced around the National League Central division, spending time with the Brewers, Cubs & Reds after he left the Cards & headed to San Diego. If not for “the catch”, it’s possible that some may even forget that Edmonds actually spent seven years in the American League West as an Angel (‘93-’99). But he will be remembered by most for his years in St. Louis as the Cardinals’ centerfielder, and I suspect there would be little question as to which team logo he’d choose to wear on his cap, should he one day enter Cooperstown (a conversation for another time).

For different reasons than his former teammates, Aaron Miles & Scott Spiezio, when Jim Edmonds took the mound this past Thursday, it was for a ceremonial pitch–the first pitch of the 2011 season. He was very well-received by the fans at Busch that afternoon, and I suspect he’ll always be welcomed & appreciated in Cardinal Nation.

Thank you, Jim Edmonds for the memories, the highlights, and for keeping the flame of exciting & superb defense alive for another generation of Cardinals fans!

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