According to Baseball America, the KC Royals have signed a couple familiar names to minor league contracts, along with a few new names. I assume that the following four will receive invites to spring training, though I do not see any of them actually making the big league roster.
Meaning, three of the four are space fillers in Triple-A Omaha.
The name that will excite everyone is outfielder Mitch Maier. Really, he can do everything, even pitch. The Royals brought back Maier last season as a bit of a player-coach and assigned him to Double-A NW Arkansas as he rehabbed an injury. He played in 25 games later in the year for the Naturals, hitting .233.
The Royals also signed right-hander Roman Colon, who pitched for the Royals way back in 2009 and 2010 and 2012. He just keeps coming back to Kansas City.
2012 is the last season Colon pitched in the big leagues and that was only eight innings. Then, he allowed six runs on 12 hits and three walks while striking out three. In 2013, he split the season between three minor league teams, all at the Triple-A level (Colorado Springs, Gwinnett, and Indianapolis).
The Royals also signed outfielder Brandon Jacobs and third baseman Alex Liddi.
Jacobs was a 10th round pick of Boston back in 2009, but has bounced around since. In 2013, he finally reached Double-A with the Red Sox, only to be traded to the Chicago White Sox for reliever Matt Thornton and was sent to Double-A Birmingham (.237 in 43 games).
Last season, Jacobs was back in High-A, this time with Arizona. He only hit .210 there in 89 games with 111 strikeouts to 30 walks in 310 at-bats. He did hit 16 home runs.
Jacobs’ best year so far was back in 2011 with Low-A Greenville. He hit .303 with 32 doubles, 17 home runs, and 80 RBIs in 115 games. He also stole 30 bases to seven caught stealings. However, he struck out 123 times to 43 walks.
I am a HUGE Liddi fan. The Italian played very well in the World Baseball Classic and always had a smile on his face throughout the tournament. He signed way back in 2005 with Seattle as a 17 year old and made his Major League debut in 2011 with the Mariners. He also played in the big leagues with the M’s in 2012 and 2013, but never hit better than .225 or played more than 38 games.
Since his last game with the Mariners in 2012, Liddi has bounced around the minors (his career seemed to stall with Seattle back in 2012). He played with Triple-A Norfolk in 2013 (Baltimore), hitting .222 in 49 games. In 2014, he played at both the Double-A and Triple-A levels with the LA Dodgers, though he did not hit over .219 at either stop. He also played for Triple-A Charlotte (Chicago White Sox) in 2014, though he only hit .171.
Okay, so Liddi has never really developed into a Major League stud or really been given much of a chance, but has shown some glimpses of what the Mariners saw when they signed him as a raw Italian kid back in 2005. He could be that push that Mike Moustakas needs, especially if Liddi shows off the 25-30 home run power he showed earlier in his career.