The Kansas City Royals were obliged to finalise their 40-man roster this week ahead of the Rule Five draft in early December. Obviously most of it is well known and there was always going to be at least one change to add Jeremy Guthrie.
But the Royals also sprang some surprises and none were bigger than dropping catcher Brayan Pena. Pena hovered between being the backup and everyday catcher during four seasons with the Royals. He was always decent but unspectacular with the bat and below par with the glove, but he still appeared to be Salvador Perez‘s backup next season. And that isn’t impossible, but with Pena designated for assignment one expects that a player with his level of big league experience will leave the organisation.
One of the other players designated for assignment was also a bit of a surprise. Ryan Verdugo played only one game at the big league level this year, but had a very good season at AAA and the Royals will hope to keep him in the organisation. There is also the fact that he came over in the Jonathan Sanchez trade and the Royals will hope to have some success result from that deal.
Less surprising, but disappointing for a similar reason is that Vin Mazzaro was axed from the 40-man roster. He came to the Royals in the David DeJesus deal and whilst the Royals have not missed DeJesus it was hoped that Mazzaro was a strong starting pitching addition. It has not panned out, however, either in 2011 or in 2012 and there seems little reason to persist with him.
The recently acquired Chris Volstad was the other man to make way, with the return of Guthrie making him a touch redundant.