The Kansas City Royals apparently decided to forget about the age and recent ineffectiveness of 42-year-old Raul Ibanez and sign him to their big-league roster. This move may go hand-in-hand with the true start to Christian Colon‘s big-league career. It could also be the last time we see Justin Maxwell in the Royals’ organization, as both he and Pedro Ciriaco were DFA’d to make room for Ibanez and Colon on the major league roster. In virtually all regards, this move marks a shift toward potential improvement and a refusal to accept mediocrity from utility players.
Sure, Ibanez isn’t returning to KC with many uplifting offensive numbers this season, but Maxwell was hitting .150 with a .175 slugging percentage. Ibanez’s numbers are just very slightly better, but he’s a proven hitter, a 19-year veteran and a well-liked teammate. Colon replacing Ciriaco offers more statistical intrigue. Ciriaco has a .213/.229/.255 line with two RBIs in 47 at bats this season. Colon is batting .296 with a .360 OBP as a starter in Omaha this year. His fielding percentage at shortstop is 98.8 percent, and scouts expect good things from him defensively through his career.
Bringing up a hot-handed Colon is worth the risk of losing Ciriaco completely. It’s also worth taking a stab at Ibanez to see if the former All-Star has anything left in the tank. If he can prove to be a valuable backup DH and/or pinch hitter, he’ll be a great veteran presence for a team under a lot of pressure. If not, KC goes back to the drawing board for another backup outfielder and loses little from their experimentation.