Tag Archive | "Willy Taveras"

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.

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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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Royals sign four veteran players to Minor League contracts

After the James Shields and Wade Davis trade, the Kansas City Royals signed four veteran players to Minor League deals. Left-handed reliever George Sherrill and right-handed reliever Dan Wheeler, along with outfielders Willy Taveras and Xavier Nady should get Major League spring training invites.

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Sherrill, 35, has nine years of Major League experience with the Mariners, Orioles, Dodgers and Braves. Sherrill has a career 3.77 ERA, appearing in 442 games over 324.1 innings pitched, all in relief. Sherrill spent most of his career as a left-handed specialist, but he has 56 career saves, most of them in 2008-2009. He’s fared well against lefties, who only have a .186/.245/.285 line with a 4.84 SO/BB ratio. He’s more pedestrian against righties, who have a .273/.380/.418 line with a 1.01 SO/BB ratio.

With Tim Collins the only current left-handed reliever locked in the Royals bullpen, Sherrill could fit in as a lefty specialist. He’ll have to join the 40-man roster and beat out candidates such as Donnie Joseph, Justin Marks, Everett Teaford and Francisley Bueno. Sherrill is recovering from Tommy John surgery and it’s likely he will spend most if not all the 2013 season in AAA Omaha.

Wheeler, 35, has 13 years of Major League experience with the Rays, Mets, Astros, Red Sox and Indians. Wheeler has a career 3.98 ERA, appearing in 589 games over 640.2 pitched with nine career starts. He fares well against righties, who have a .216/.267/.366 line with a 4.04 SO/BB ratio. He’s not as good against lefties, who have a .281/.347/.499 line, and a 1.70 SO/BB ratio.

Being a right-handed reliever, Wheeler has plenty of competition, with righties Louis Coleman, Aaron Crow, Kevin Herrera and Nate Adcock, among others. Like Sherrill, Wheeler will have to join the 40-man roster to have a shot with the big club. Barring injuries or poor performance by someone in the bullpen, Wheeler will likely be on Omaha’s roster as a reliever.

The right-handed hitting Taveras, who will be 31 this Christmas, has seven years of Major League experience with the Astros, Rockies, Reds and Nationals. He’s appeared in 670 games with a .274/.320/.327 line, but 2010 was his last time in the Majors. He’s played most of his career in center field.

Speed and base running are his assets with 195 career stolen bases and a league leading 68 stolen bases in 2008 with the Rockies. However, he doesn’t draw many walks and with 71 doubles and eight home runs over his career, Taveras doesn’t hit for power.

With five outfielders on the Royals 40-man roster (Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson, Jeff Francoeur, Alex Gordon and David Lough), Taveras has a remote chance to make the Major League roster. He’s at least three years older than the other outfielders, Dyson is a faster runner and the rest have more power over Taveras. Gordon has the job in left, Cain is in center and even though Francoeur was horrible in right field, he’ll have every chance to keep his job. And if he doesn’t, there’s always Dyson and Lough to take Francoeur’s place.

The right-handed hitting Nady, 34, has 11 years of Major League experience with the Padres, Mets, Pirates, Yankees, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Nationals and Giants. He’s appeared in 939 games with a .270/.324/.432 line. His high water mark was in 2008, with a .305/.357/.510 line with 97 RBI, 37 doubles and 25 home runs. But the last couple of seasons, he’s been a bench player/pinch hitter.

At 34, Nady’s best days are behind him. He’s got the potential to hit for power, but he’s not an everyday player. Like Taveras, Nady is a long shot to make the Major League club and he’s likely a part of Omaha’s roster if he stays with the Royals organization.

Interesting note: Nady isn’t the only Xavier in Royals history. Xavier Dixon played 50 games in the Royals Minor League system in 1974 before playing three more seasons of independent league baseball and retiring in 1977.

A few years ago, these journeyman players would be in the mix for a spot on the Major League roster. But barring injuries or other circumstances, they’re playing for the Storm Chasers next season, or on another Major League team.

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Royals Sign Three To Minor League Deals

KANSAS CITY, MO (December 11, 2012) — The Kansas City Royals announced today that the club has signed three additional players to minor league contracts for the 2013 season.  The club plans to announce Major League Spring Training invitations at a later date.

Left-handed pitcher George Sherrill, 35, is 19-17 with 56 saves and a 3.77 ERA in 442 career Major League appearances, all in relief, for the Mariners (2004-07, 2012), Orioles (2008-09), Dodgers (2009-10) and Braves (2011).  The 2008 American League All-Star made just two appearances for Seattle in 2012 before undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left elbow on May 4.  Born and raised in Tennessee, the current Utah resident has held left-handed batters to a .186 batting average in his Major League career.

Dan Wheeler, who turned 35 on Monday, is 25-43 with a 3.98 ERA in 589 outings over a 13-year Major League career for the Rays (1999-2001, 2007-10), Mets (2003-04), Astros (2004-07), Red Sox (2011) and Indians (2012).  Born in Rhode Island but now living in Florida, Wheeler split the 2012 campaign between the Cleveland Indians and Triple-A Columbus.

Outfielder Willy Taveras, who will turn 31 on Christmas Day, is a seven-year Major League veteran who has compiled a .274 career average with 195 stolen bases for the Astros (2004-06), Rockies (2007-08), Reds (2009) and Nationals (2010).  The Dominican Republic resident led the National League with 68 stolen bases in 75 attempts for Colorado in 2008.  Taveras is currently batting .280 with eight stolen bases in 39 games for Obregon in the Mexican Winter League.

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