Though he lacks experience at the position, Cheslor Cuthbert will be in the mix for the Royals’ second base job this spring, writes Rustin Dudd of the Kansas City Star. The 25-year-old Cuthbert is out of minor league options, so the Royals will need to carry him on the roster this season or risk losing him on waivers. Cuthbert worked out with Royals special assistant Rafael Belliard this offseason to familiarize himself with the new position, and he played about 15 games at second base in winter ball in his native Nicaragua as well, per Dodd. Even if he’s not a long-term answer at second, the Royals likely want to keep Cuthbert as a potential long-term option at third base. With Mike Moustakas slated to hit the open market next winter, Cuthbert could inherit the team’s everyday job at the hot corner as soon as 2018. Cuthbert hit .274/.318/.413 with a dozen homers and 28 doubles in 510 plate appearances last season as he played third base regularly in lieu of the injured Moustakas.
More from the AL Central…
- The Royals aren’t simply conceding that this will be their last year with free-agents-to-be such as Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. While it’s obviously not realistic to expect the Royals to re-sign each of those players — Rosenthal notes that the team may even prefer to replace Escobar with the younger Raul Mondesi — Kansas City executives feel there’s some hope of retaining some of their core pieces. The Royals have already locked up left-hander Danny Duffy (who was also on track for free agency next winter) on a new five-year, $65MM deal. Hosmer, Moustakas and Cain could all prove more expensive than that next offseason, depending on their 2017 performance, though with at least some from that group likely to sign elsewhere, the Royals will have some payroll flexibility. The Royals currently have about $104MM of payroll commitments to the 2018 roster, $78MM in 2019, $51MM in 2020 and $32MM in 2021.
- White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier tells reporters that the sprained finger, for which he was wearing a splint late last month, is healed (via Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun Times). Frazier said that he’s been hitting every day, and it doesn’t seem as if he expects the issue to hamper him this season. Set to hit free agency next winter, Frazier declined to speak at length about his future. “Chicago is a nice place to play and I’d like to play here,” he said after noting that his focus is primarily on the upcoming season.
- Chris Gimenez’s ties to Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey (formerly an assistant GM with the Indians) and general manager Thad Levine (formerly an assistant GM with the Rangers) made it an decision for the new Minnesota execs to sign him this offseason, writes Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Gimenez isn’t in camp as a mere depth option, either, as he’ll be given a legitimate chance to emerge from Spring Training as the backup to offseason addition Jason Castro. While Gimenez doesn’t come with a strong track record at the plate, he’s a solid defender that hits lefties well (.263/.358/.403 in his career), making him a nice on-paper fit with the left-handed-hitting Castro. Miller and Gimenez also discuss the catcher’s winding career, which has included seven organizations in the past nine seasons.