Five different Royals players spent time at second base in 2010. Although that number sounds high, second base was actually one of the more stable positions for Kansas City this season. That speaks to the fact that 2010 was a transition year for the team – hopefully, a transition from bad baseball to good.
Let’s start with the 2010 Opening Day starter at second, Chris Getz. Getz came over in a trade from the White Sox along with Josh Field for Mark Teahen. None of those players had particularly good seasons, so the trade really had no winners. Getz ended up playing 64 games at second (59 starts) for KC, and he played above average defense. Offensively, on the season Getz batted a pedestrian .234 with a .302 on-base percentage.
Most teams don’t expect much from offensive production from their two-bagger. But the guy who played the most at second for the Royals in 2010 – Mike Aviles – actually had a pretty good year at the dish.
Aviles batted .304 on the season, not quite matching his .325 clip during his 2008 rookie campaign, but Aviles is becoming more patient at the plate. His power numbers are developing as well – Aviles has quietly bashed more than a few dingers as an infielder.
Wilson Betemit also played a couple games at second in 2010, and the now-departed Willie Bloomquist and Alberto Callaspo also spent time there.
What happens at second for the Royals in 2011 will actually depend a lot on what develops at third base. Many fans are hoping minor league sensation Mike Moustakas will be ready to take the reins at third to open the season, but now – mostly for financial reasons (giving the team an extra arbitration year) – it looks as though Moose will start the season in the minors. That means Aviles could be shifted to third.
If that happens, look for Getz to repeat as the starter at second base in 2011.
The Royals’ recent acquisition of Joaquin Arias could provide some competition in Spring Training. However, Arias projects more as a backup.
But, actually, Getz does, too.
Here’s a better option: give Betemit, who had a breakout season in 2010, a chance to finally start in ’11. He plays capably at the hot corner. Then let Aviles take ownership of second base.
When Aviles is healthy, he’s the most productive hitter on the team. It’s time to let him settle into a position. And most acknowledge he’s the long-term solution at second, even though he’ll be 30 on Opening Day 2011.
For good measure, Getz and Arias can battle it out for the backup job. Maybe they both make the roster, maybe not. Essentially, they serve the same purpose.
Matt Kelsey is a Royals writer and the content editor for I-70 Baseball. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.