Sunday, December 4, 2011

Looking For Backups

As the winter meetings descend upon us Kansas City is in the rare position of their opening day roster almost being set in stone. I say almost because the only question marks are at utility infielder and fourth outfielder. One of those positions - the fourth outfielder - will likely be occupied by Jarrod Dyson or Mitch Maier. Of the two, my preference would be Maier.

Look, Dyson is a fun little toy but if pressed into service for more than the occasional start or pinch running duty his offensive deficiencies would inevitably show. Maier on the other hand could fill in at all three positions holding his own defensively while not embarrassing himself at the plate (I swear I've typed that sentence a hundred times the last few years). The last two seasons he has accumulated 534 plate appearances and put up a not great but not terrible 94 OPS+. I'd wager that he'll garner more than the 113 PAs he had in 2011 as it's unlikely the three starters will all play in 150+ games again. Lorenzo Cain is still a question mark himself so it's not out of the realm of possibility that the fourth OF finds himself a starter at some point in the year if, you know, Cain fails to hit.

So it would seem that Moore's agenda at the meetings include just finding a utility infielder, and maybe to a lesser extent another starting pitcher (though I doubt it). Yamaico Navarro would appear to be a natural fit for the utility job but I think the club still thinks he can potentially be a starter so that's likely what he'll be doing this year, starting for Omaha.

It wouldn't surprise me to see Moore take a run at a veteran in the Bloomquist mold - a defense first player whose offense is only tolerable in small doses. Of course there is a real fear that his grit will be off the charts and, like Bloomquist in 2009, will play entirely way too much. I'm hoping Yost will do the right thing with Giavotella but it wouldn't surprise me to see him Kila'd, meaning demoted after just a month (but that's a post for another day, probably in May).

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