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 Tue, 3/20
by Robert Ford,posted Mar 20 2012 10:38PM
It wasn’t surprising that the Royals swung a trade with the Astros for catcher Humberto Quintero. The Royals’ catching depth took a hit with knee injuries to Manny Piña and Salvador Perez, leaving Brayan Peña as the only catcher on the 40-man roster. The Royals needed someone who could pair with Peña for the three months that Perez is out, and Quintero seems to fit that mold. Quintero’s never hit much but, by all accounts, he’s an excellent defensive catcher and should be fine in a tandem with Peña. Plus, once Perez returns, it’s likely he’ll only catch four or so days a week to protect his surgically repaired knee and Quintero could serve as a good backup for him.
It’s a little surprising that the Royals also got outfielder Jason Bourgeois back in the deal. Bourgeois was a minor-league journeyman who’d played 99 career Major League games before getting into 93 games with the Astros last season, hitting .294/.323/.357 with 31 steals in 37 attempts. A righthanded hitter, Bourgeois can play all three outfield positions and actually came up as a second baseman. Royals general manager Dayton Moore indicated Bourgeois can play third base as well, but he’s never played there in the Majors and only saw six games worth of action there in his minor league career. To me, Bourgeois seems like a righthanded, slightly better hitting version of Jarrod Dyson. Bourgeois also has an option left, so the final two weeks of spring training figure to be a competition between he and Dyson for the final spot on the Royals bench as the fifth outfielder behind lefty-hitting Mitch Maier, who’s out of options.
Now that the Royals have confirmed Joakim Soria has damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, he will almost certainly be out for several weeks. There’s a good chance Soria will have elbow surgery, even if the dreaded Tommy John procedure isn’t required. Now, the question is who replaces Soria as the Royals closer? In the short term, I think Jonathan Broxton is the prohibitive favorite, but judging from the recent comments of Royals manager Ned Yost, Broxton may not be the only one who gets a shot. Yost hinted that a closer by committee is a possibility early in the season, which doesn’t surprise me. In addition to Broxton, Greg Holland and Aaron Crow (whom Yost confirmed was no longer in the running for a starting rotation spot) will also get opportunities to close and I don’t think Yost wants to pigeonhole himself; if he says there will be one closer and one closer only, and that closer falters, it leaves Yost open to second guessing. But, by saying the closer’s job is up for grabs and indicating that he may not designate a closer at the start of the year, Yost is leaving himself plenty of wiggle room, which may help him should his initial choice for closer struggles.