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Royals demote projected second baseman Johnny Giavotella

Mar 25, 2012, 6:30 PM EDT

Johnny Giavotella Getty Images

24-year-old Johnny Giavotella was expected to be the Royals’ second baseman and No. 2 hitter this season. After 44 at-bats this spring in which he hit .250/.267/.318, he’s on his way back to Triple-A.

The Royals demoted the New Orleans product on Sunday, opting instead to go with Chris Getz and Yuniesky Betancourt as their second basemen. It figures to be a platoon, as Getz is a left-handed hitter and Betancourt hacks from the right side.

It’ll be Getz’s third go at being Kansas City’s second baseman after he hit .237/.302/.277 in 2010 and .255/.313/.287 last year, losing the job both seasons. He was supposed to be the odd-man out this spring, with Betancourt serving as the Royals’ utilityman.

Giavotella, meanwhile, will try to earn another opportunity in Triple-A, though he has little to prove after hitting .338/.390/.481 there last season. He’s easily the Royals’ best offensive option at second base, though since he does have a below average glove, his future as a long-term regular is very much in doubt.

With Gio out of the mix, the Royals are probably looking at the following lineup:

LF Alex Gordon
2B Getz/CF Lorenzo Cain
1B Eric Hosmer
DH Billy Butler
RF Jeff Francoeur
3B Mike Moustakas
CF Cain/2B Betancourt
C Humberto Quintero/Brayan Pena
SS Alcides Escobar

Getz will probably hit second against righties, with either Cain or Escobar moving up against lefties.

Worse, the Royals seem set to go with Jason Bourgeois and Mitch Maier as their two bench players along with the backup infielder and catcher. They’re going to have three starters occasionally worth pinch-hitting for and no good options to take the at-bats. Dropping Maier and going with a real hitter seems like an obvious choice. Even if they couldn’t sign Vladimir Guerrero or Hideki Matsui on the cheap, they’d have a perfectly legitimate internal option for that role in Clint Robinson. They’re not going that route, though.

  1. drewsylvania - Mar 25, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    How can they develop so well and evaluate so poorly? It’s like Moore gets a kickback from the MLBPA for every crappy vet he employs.

  2. Paul White - Mar 25, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Wait a minute…to improve their bench offense, you’re saying the Royals, with only four other lefties on the roster, should dump the lefty backup OF with the 84 career OPS+ instead of the righty backup OF with the 74 career OPS+?

    Um, what?

    • Matthew Pouliot - Mar 25, 2012 at 7:31 PM

      Well, if Getz is starting, it’d be nice to have some speed on the bench. But if you’d rather send down Bourgeois and keep Maier, that’s fine with me.

  3. jwbiii - Mar 25, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    -> No longer trusting the process.

    This would make sense if and only they were showcasing Chris Getz for a trade. But we kind of had a good idea who Getz is at this point and so does Ruben Amaro.

  4. - Mar 26, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    “The Process” Sigh.

    This move pisses me off more than some Brewers prosopect hitting for the cycle.

    Signing washed up veterans and never weres to block younger players is an Allard Baird move.

    I’m not what to think more: That Gio left a growler in Dayton Moore’s coffee cup, or that Yuni & Getz have some blackmail material on Dayton Moore.

    Either way, I bet he’s back as the starter by June.

  5. visnovsky - Mar 26, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    The Royals management once again proving they are f-ing idiots.

  6. l0yalr0yal - Mar 26, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    I feel for this kid. Being replaced by Chris Getz at second base is like switching my office job with the janitor that only has four teeth.

    I don’t expect the Royals to sign an additional bench bat. They didn’t even fart at Roy Oswalt. You make a great point about Gio having nothing left to prove in the minors. I wish we would use him and get his ABs up in the majors, but if we’re not, we’re not only wasting our time but we are wasting his. I am also in agreeance with the possibility of moving Clint Robinson up. With Hosmer holding down first base and Butler who is perfectly capable of playing there, it might not be a bad idea to start showing Robinson off.

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