Outfielder Shane Costa is back with the Triple-A Omaha Royals. He cleared waivers on Thursday and was outrighted to Omaha where he’s spent most of the last four years.
Costa had a good Spring Training as he recovered from wrist surgery last summer.
In recent news regarding ex-Royals, pitcher Joel Peralta has signed with Colorado, pitcher Jimmy Gobble has signed with the Chicago White Sox and infielder Esteban German has signed with Texas. All are on Triple-A contracts.
Just so you know, German is the third baseman on the Oklahoma team with German Duran as the second baseman.
We reporters will miss Jimmy Gobble around the Royals’ clubhouse. He is, quite simply, just one great guy.
Anytime you had a question about pitching or darn near anything, you could approach Gobble and get a thoughtful, sincere, complete answer.
“Heck, I talked to you guys as much as I did my teammates,” he said just after being released the other day.
That might be an exaggeration but Gobble was one of those ballplayers who’s a good friend as well as a subject to be covered. I remember years ago when I talked long distance to his mother out there in Bristol, Va., about “little Jimmy” in his childhood and she was the most lovely, sincere person you could ever talk to – plus, she was a real hoot. And his father was a real friendly and gracious gentleman whenever I chatted with him.
Jimmy’s a devoted family man with wife Julie and sons Porter and Palmer. He loves to talk about his kids.
The release caught him completely by surprise. He thought he’d be on the club. Sure, he had a bad year in 2008 but he worked very hard over the winter and was pitching pretty well this spring.
“I thought so, too,” Jimmy said. “Other than that first outing which, I mean heck, wasn’t too terrible or anything. I hadn’t walked anybody. I told Julie, ‘I feel like this is the best I’ve been throwing any time in Spring Training.’ But that’s part of it.”
Looking back on his six years with the Royals, I asked for a special memory.
“Probably July Fourth (2006),” he said. “I pitched against the Twins and I think they’d won like 12 straight games. I’d just been put into the starting rotation and the next day Porter was born. Those two days were probably the most special because I got to pitch against a team that was really hot. I beat ’em and handled ’em pretty good. That was kind of the peak of really feeling good.”
Those Twins had won 11 straight actually and 19 of 20 before Jimmy and the Royals stopped ’em, 7-2. And then his first child arrived the next day.
Typically, he left the Royals without rancor.
“I wish everyone the best,” he said. “It’s just one of those things. You’ve just go to roll with the punches and let bygones be bygones.”
Jimmy had been in the Royals’ organization since 1999 and was coming up on his seventh year in the Majors. He was really at home with the Royals.
“You get comfortable, you adapt to the situation, you just know what to expect,” he said.
Jimmy Gobble won’t be the Royals’ left-handed specialist out of the bullpen this year after all.
The Royals requested unconditional release waivers on Gobble on Wednesday morning.
The club also announced that right-handed pitcher Anthony Lerew was signed to a Minor League contract with an invitation to the Major League camp.
Lerew pitched in parts of three seasons, 2005-07, for the Atlanta Braves with a 0-2 record and 8.31 ERA in 11 appearances (three starts). Last season he pitched in 14 Minor League games.
Gobble, 27, has spent his entire career in the Royals organization since he was a supplemental first-round selection (43rd overall) in the 1999 draft.
After having his best season in 2007, when he pitched in 74 games and had a 3.02 ERA and 4-1 record, Gobble slipped badly last year.
His ERA soared to 8.81, he appeared in just 39 games and lost both of his decisions. He also was bothered by lower back tightness which put him on the disabled list from July 22 to Sept. 2.
But he held left-handed batters to a .200 (13-for-65) average and indications were that he’d retain his role as a weapon against lefties this season.
Gobble began his career with the Royals as a starter and had a 9-8 record in 2004. But he was switched to the bullpen in 2005.
In 236 games including 43 starts for the Royals, he had a 22-23 record and 5.23 ERA with four saves.
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