KANSAS CITY -- With numerous players from Hunter Dozier to Brad Keller to Ryan O’Hearn on the injured list, it was obvious the Royals were going to have to reach deep into their 60-man player pool to set their Opening Day roster.
And Kansas City did just that, going with right-hander Tyler Zuber and super utility man Erick Mejia among others on their 30-man roster.
As expected, the Royals also selected the contracts of reliever Greg Holland and catcher Oscar Hernández, to bolster a thin catching corps.
Kansas City already had open spots with Dozier, Keller, O’Hearn, Jakob Junis and Cam Gallagher on the IL due to positive COVID-19 related issues, which has temporarily cleared spots on the 40. The Royals also added pitchers Chance Adams and Randy Rosario to the injured list.
Royals fans will notice that right-hander Brady Singer is not on the 30-man roster right now, but is scheduled to pitch on Saturday. According to a source, he will be activated after Friday’s game.
Here is the Royals’ 30-man roster, which obviously will be fluid throughout the season.
Pitchers (16): Danny Duffy, Mike Montgomery, Jorge López, Glenn Sparkman, Ian Kennedy, Scott Barlow, Trevor Rosenthal, Greg Holland, Josh Staumont, Kyle Zimmer, Tyler Zuber, Kevin McCarthy, Gabe Speier, Foster Griffin, Ronald Bolaños, Richard Lovelady
Comment: No real surprises here. Zuber impressed all during Spring Training and Summer Camp, and manager Mike Matheny talked him up like he would be a valuable tool in the bullpen. McCarthy added a splitter to his repertoire and will be used frequently. Without all the positive COVID cases, Zimmer probably wouldn’t have made the 30, but now is his time to show his value. With Tim Hill traded and Rosario having arm issues, Speier and Lovelady need to show what they've got as the primary bullpen lefties.
Outfielders (6): Alex Gordon, Whit Merrifield, Bubba Starling, Brett Phillips, Jorge Soler, Franchy Cordero
Comment: There was some thought that maybe speedster Nick Heath could be of value as a guy who could be useful with the new extra-inning rules (extras start with an automatic runner on second). The Royals opted instead to have Cordero -- just acquired from San Diego -- as the roster fill-in for Dozier. With Dozier’s absence, Starling and Phillips -- both out of options -- were a lock to make the 30.
Utility (1): Erick Mejia
Comment: As camp progressed, it became apparent that the switch-hitting Mejia would become a lock. He can play all eight positions, including catcher. Matheny and the Royals’ staff love Mejia, who has a plus-arm and good speed.