Robert Ford came to 610 Sports Radio in 2009 as the station’s “Royals Insider.” He currently serves as the pre and post game show host for Royals Broadcasts on 610. The Syracuse graduate has been around professional baseball as a reporter and broadcaster for over a decade.
Royals Spring Training Report for Sat, 3/17
by Robert Ford,posted Mar 17 2012 10:02AM
There are two groups of players in spring training: those competing for jobs and those who essentially have jobs won and only have to worry about getting ready for the season. When teams have competition, the hope is that one player will outshine the others and, usually, that’s what happens. But, sometimes, none of the competing players distinguishes themselves, making picking a “winner” difficult.
Coming into camp, the Royals were hoping Johnny Giavotella would win the second base job over Chris Getz. Giavotella is the lesser defender of the two, but he has more upside offensively than Getz, who’s primarily a singles hitter. Giavotella has hit at every one of his minor league stops and showed offensive promise in 46 games with the Royals last season. But, he hit .247 with Kansas City and struggled with the bat after a hot start, so the Royals didn’t want to just hand Giavotella a job. Both Giavotella and Getz have options remaining, so the Royals could start one in the Majors and have the other shipped to Omaha.
However, neither Getz nor Giavotella has exactly won the second base job. Getz has been the more impressive player of the two and Royals manager Ned Yost has raved about his new stance, which gives him a chance to hit for more power, but Getz has yet to have an extra-base hit. Since Giavotella is a work in progress defensively, he needs to hit, and he hasn’t looked great at the plate all spring. Yost has said that Yuniesky Betancourt, who was signed to be a utility infielder, is also in the mix for the second base job to start the year, but I don’t buy that. Yost has talked about the importance of a strong and versatile bench this season, and having Betancourt play second everyday to open the season weakens the bench, since neither Getz nor Giavotella can play multiple positions. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect Betancourt to play second everyday at some point during the season if Getz and/or Giavotella struggles, but he won’t open the year at second.
There are still two weeks remaining in spring training, so there’s still time for Getz or Giavotella to go on a tear and leave no doubt they should start at second. And, for the Royals sake, that needs to happen.