The Kansas City Royals acquired the services of Omar Infante through free agency this offseason. It was a clear move to improve a clear weak spot in the team's offense. It may not have been a solid move toward consistency at the position.
Infante is suffering from a bone spur in his right elbow. The ailment has kept him from game action on a regular basis this spring. Concerns have surfaced that he may not be ready for Opening Day, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star. McCullough goes on to share the likely plan for Infante:
Manager Ned Yost plans to bring Infante with the team to Milwaukee for a two-game exhibition series that starts Friday. Infante will play in minor-league games here on Wednesday and Thursday. In the second game, he would only take at-bats as the designated hitter.
The larger concern with Infante opening the season on the disabled list is the lack of depth behind him at second base. The lack of depth at middle infield is a growing concern for the Royals. The Royals have few options behind Infante.
Mike Moustakas played second in spring
The man they call "Moose" found himself at second base earlier this spring for a few innings. It was a move done simply for emergency purposes. Should the team find itself needing a second baseman due to injuries in the depth chart ahead of him, Moose may take the field in a strange position.
Moose projects as the Royals third baseman and, given his impressive spring numbers, a key part of the offense. Moving him around would be disruptive to a player who is finally putting it all together at his own position. Ultimately, the Royals will not play Moose at second unless it is absolutely necessary.
Johnny Giavotella is the only natural second base option
The lack of production from Giavotella was one of the leading factors for the team to sign Infante in the first place. However, the team acquired Infante and did not invest in another man who played second base primarily.
Giavotella has been optioned to Triple-A Omaha but could easily be recalled if a player is put on the disabled list. While the Royals would likely recall him in order to provide some depth, there is very little chance that manager Ned Yost will entrust him with the everyday job, even temporarily.
Danny Valencia was signed for emergencies like this
Valencia projects as the Royals' backup infielder. A natural third baseman, he has been discussed this spring as an option at other positions around the infield. While he may not be the most ideal choice at second base long-term, he is quite likely the obvious choice there while the team waits for Infante to be ready.
Valencia is likely the player the Royals will use at second base for a short time while Infante prepares to debut for the team.
Infante has not appeared in a major league game since the injury occurred over a week ago, so a disabled-list placement could be backdated. This would minimize the amount of time he would miss in the regular season, giving the Royals some added flexibility.
Until then, they will look to the above options to fill the gap.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!