Bullpen shapes up as magnificent seven

When you think about it, the addition of Juan Cruz not only gives the Royals a stronger bullpen but it pretty much sews up who will be in it.

You start from the back end with closer Joakim Soria. Plug in Cruz and Kyle Farnsworth and Ron Mahay as the set-up types. You’ve got Doug Waechter and Robinson Tejeda as the middle men and Jimmy Gobble as the lefty specialist.

As manager Trey Hillman was saying the other day, Farnsworth, Mahay, Waechter, Tejeda and Gobble are the type of guys that can go two innings and maybe even Cruz. So you’ve got plenty of depth in case a starter goes bad in the fourth inning and needs a lot of help. Then you hope the starter the next day can get through six or seven to help stretch things out.

Of course, Hillman also mentioned such guys as Brandon Duckworth and Joel Peralta and Jamey Wright and Carlos Rosa et al because the skipper doesn’t want to throw cold water on anybody’s hopes. And he shouldn’t because, hey, anything can happen in the next month. Somebody could get hot, somebody could get stinky, somebody could get hurt.

In fact, John Bale already has been diverted to an uncertain status because of his thyroid surgery. There’s no telling if he might be ready by Opening Day but that’s probably a long shot. Which is why you can pretty much make a logical forecast on the bullpen seven even at this early juncture. Shapes up as pretty magnificent seven, too, doesn’t it?

— Dick Kaegel


  1. merritr@gmail.com

    So if we assume Meche, Greinke, Davies, Ramirez and Hochevar/Bannister in the rotation (one of those guys opens in AAA), and the guys above as our 7 in the bullpen, we have 13 position players to fill. Here is how I think it should look:
    C: Olivo, Buck
    OF: Dejesus, Crisp, Guillen, Teahan, Maier
    IF: Gordon, Aviles, Callaspo, Bloomquist, Butler, Jacobs

    The only “controversy” in my lineup, in my opinion, is Maier over Tony Pena. I chose Mitch because he is a much better bat off the bench than Pena (not saying much), and he can back up all 3 outfield positions. Teahan is going to get time at 3b, 1b, a little at 2b and a little in RF (when Guillen is DH or resting). Plus, Teahan steps in as a starter if Guillen, Gordon, Dejesus or Crisp get injured. Notice I don’t list 1b, because Teahan’s bat is too weak to be an everyday guy there…..we’d have to bring up Shealy if Jacobs or Butler got hurt.

    Pena is like Bloomquist, except Willie has experience at all IF and OF positions; Tony can probably only play SS or 2b. Plus Willie is probably a little better with the bat as well. (Plus he went to school at my alma mater).

    The only other battle is for the 5th spot in the rotation, Hochevar vs. Bannister (assuming Ramirez keeps improving through Spring). I guess the loser goes to Omaha, instead of going to the pen and kicking Tejeda to Omaha.

    Any other thoughts on the last couple of spots on the opening day roster?

  2. kmartn1@gmail.com

    That makes 2 lefties and 5 righties. I understand your point but 2 is not enough. Especially if one of the lefties is a LOOGY. Hillman is all about options. I think the addition of Cruz will leave Hillman with very few options if he keeps a LOOGY. He’ll have to find a L-H’der who can get righties out better than Gobble. Gobble will be the odd man out in the pen. I’m pulling for Rosa to get one of those spots ahead of Tejeda.

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