What the Kansas City Royals Need To Do with Their Unsettled Infield

Josh DugganCorrespondent IMarch 19, 2010

GOODYEAR, AZ - MARCH 08:  Chris Getz #17 of the Kansas City Royals bats against the Cincinnati Reds during the MLB spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark on March 8, 2010 in Goodyear, Arizona. The Reds defeated the Royals 14-5.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

First things first, I need to apologize for my month-long absence here. 

I've spent much of the last two months writing preseason fantasy baseball articles for Sports Grumblings. 

Sure, I've written only three articles, but they were 6,326, 4,775, and 6,829 words long, and when you couple that with the increased hours working as a result of being a quasi-seasonal worker and officiating over a now-three-week-long "Year: One Keeper League" fantasy draft on a message board, you could say I've been spread pretty thin lately. 

So again apologies all around, but if you thought about the prospect of writing 18,000 words for draft kits while balancing a 60-plus-hour work week, you would probably understand the lack of output here (and at my other three blogs—yes, there is a third one). 

Anyway, we're in the throes of spring training, and we've already got everyone and their sister writing about who should be cut or jettisoned from this Kansas City Royals roster that most closely resembles Frankenstein's monster. 

There's a Jackie Treehorn-style Log Jam in the middle infield, especially at second, where not only Chris Getz and Alberto Callaspo are duking it out, but so is Mike Aviles, whose surgically repaired (Tommy John) throwing elbow is thought to need more time to recover and therefore will not be able to throw across the diamond from short quite yet.

Obviously, everyone who doesn't work in the Royals' front office would love to see anyone other than Yuniesky Betancourt at short.  Assuming that Aviles' elbow isn't ready yet, why is there virtually no talk of trying the fleet-footed Getz at short and Callaspo at second?  The Royals have given Getz a total of five at-bats at short over two games, both of which were almost two weeks ago. 

For a team that was willing to explore the possibility of slotting Mark Teahen at second base last season to get his bat into the lineup, trying to move Getz to short for the time being would make a whole helluva lot more sense given their roster and their need to get Callaspo's bat into the lineup everyday. 

Despite GM Dayton Moore's assertions to the contrary, Betancourt is a vortex through which the entire team will get sucked if he's allowed onto the field too much—and "too much" could just as easily read "at all."  With Betancourt's already abysmal glove and brutal batsmanship, nearly any middle infielder on the roster would be an upgrade. 

Unfortunately, the only other player in camp who is getting any in-game reps at short is the limited Wilson Betemit.  Why the Royals have decided that Betemit is the best in-house alternative at shortstop is utterly baffling. 

Sure, Betemit has played all of the infield positions, but the only position he has logged enough time at to draw any reasonable conclusions from is third, and there is nothing about his play there, and his career minus-11.1 UZR/150 in 1623.2 innings, that would suggest a move to short would be wise. 

Yet this is where we find ourselves.  In-house options make more logistical sense than what seems to be playing itself out on the field.  One of the only legit bats on the roster is being squeezed out because Jose Guillen presumably needs to get $12 million worth of at-bats, and there is no room for that bat at second because the moves that beg to be made will not happen. 

Meanwhile, lesser options are getting more audition time to play back-up to a man the Royals are stuck with because The Management saw fit to trade two minor league pitchers (one a top-10 organizational prospect, of course) to hamstring the team with the worst defensive shortstop in baseball and the worst offensive shortstop in baseball, complete in one sleek package.

What do you do if your starting shortstop is the worst at his position in all of baseball?  Well, if you are the Royals, you try to slide a below-average third baseman (both offensively and defensively) into that slot.  It's unlikely that Betemit could be worse than Betancourt.  Unfortunately, even if that were true, it does nothing to get both Getz and Callaspo's bats into the lineup, which is really what needs to happen.

So while Betancourt needs to be cut loose now (as does Guillen, of course), there is nothing to indicate that common sense has crept into Moore's train of thought because they continue to pursue non-solutions to their problems.