It’s hard to believe, but we’re only six days away from the start of the Kansas City Royals‘ regular season. As KC continues to make significant moves, the 25-man roster for Mar. 31 begins to take fuller form. Among the many cuts this week was the promising reliever, Donnie Joseph, who was optioned to Triple-A Omaha.
After not giving up a single hit in Spring Training, his latest appearance was less than inspiring; Joseph left the game without recording a second out after walking three batters and giving up a Neftali Soto long-ball that resulted in three earned runs.
Francisley Bueno never had such a blowup this spring, and he also provided a larger sample size, if only by three innings. Actually, the matter of sample size is what derails this debate over the two before we can really begin. While Joseph’s five innings pitched this spring doesn’t seem like enough time to prove anything, neither does Bueno’s eight.
This simply comes down to Bueno being without options, the Royals wishing to retain him and his 1.61 ERA in 28 MLB innings justifying that decision. Whenever KC shakes up the rotation or loses an arm to injury, Joseph should be well-prepared for another shot to prove himself. Whether he likes it or not, Joseph’s fate will be dictated by others on the roster with more hype surrounding them, such as the talented but unproven Danny Duffy.
Inevitably, Joseph will see major league playing time in 2014. Prior to that last ugly outing, Joseph was untouchable with six Ks in 5.1 innings this spring. Unfortunately for him, he’s one of many aspiring to earn a very specific role as a lefty reliever. If/when Duffy blows away his minor league competition, KC will probably bring him on as a reliever.
This would mean more waiting for Joseph at the very least. At most, it could make him trade bait, especially after a successful MLB stint to increase his market value. Maybe Joseph will prove himself and be a memorable major league contributor for years to come. Maybe Duffy will prove to be a perfect fit for KC’s bullpen and Joseph is traded away while his stock is on the rise. Thanks to just one crappy outing, even Donnie himself has no way of knowing which is now more likely.