One of the battles going into Spring Training for the Kansas City Royals was set to be Chris Getz and Johnny Giavotella battling for the starting job at second base. Getz appeared to be tipping the scales strongly into his favor for most of the spring and he finally won the job formally this week.
It really was no surprise. Giavotella’s main attribute was his hitting ability, but Getz was actually batting better of the two and not by a small margin either. By the time the announcement was made, Getz was hitting all of .372 compared to the .267 to Giavotella and the gap was actually getting bigger. Added to that was the existing defensive superiority of Getz which was unchallenged. It surely made for a pretty easy decision for manager Ned Yost.
What was a surprise in the announcement, however, was that Giavotella had actually been optioned to Triple-A Omaha. From the start of camp it had been generally assumed that the loser of the battle for the starting spot would stay with the club as a reserve and probably get some playing time. Even as Getz secured his hold on the job there was no suggestion that Giavotella would not at least stay with the major league club.
One can see the reasoning behind the decision, however. Giavotella still has room to continue his development and he will be an everyday player in Omaha as opposed to sparse playing time in Kansas City and the former will give him the better chance to improve. It will surely be a disappointment for Giavotella, but he can build on that disappointment to make a push for the major league club later this year or in the next couple of years.