Despite pitchers and catchers officially reporting yesterday, the KC Royals are still adding players to their spring training roster. They announced yesterday that they signed veteran pitchers Brian Duensing and Ross Ohlendorf to minor league contracts with invitations to big league camp. They also signed veteran infielder Clint Barmes and invited him to camp (he does not have to report until next week).
Ohlendorf has an opt-out date of March 20th, while both Duensing and Barmes can opt-out on March 29th.
The Royals keep stockpiling veteran pitchers to minor league contracts and it is increasingly looking like those pitchers will have more of a shot at roster spots than the younger guys in camp. They may even have a better shot at making the Triple-A Omaha roster than the younger guys (if they choose to stick around).
Duensing, a former teammate of Alex Gordon’s at Nebraska, will make $2 million if he makes the Royals. The lefty spent his entire career with Minnesota since being a third round pick of the Twins in 2005. He turned into a full-time reliever back in 2013 and gives up his share of hits and walks. However, he has not allowed double-digit home runs since 2012.
In 55 games in 2015, Duensing allowed 46 hits and walked 21 in 48.2 innings. He struck out just 24. Over his career, lefties have hit just .238 against him.
Ohlendorf, a Princeton alum like fellow Royal Chris Young, spent a good chunk of his career in Pittsburgh (2008-2011) and pitched for Texas last year. He was a September callup with the Rangers and pitched in three games in the American League Division Series against Toronto, allowing two hits over 3.1 scoreless innings. Ohlendorf picked up a save and struck out five.
I believe both Duensing and Ohlendorf have legitimate chances of earning spots in the Royals bullpen come Opening Day and could be the frontrunners for two of the open spots.
Barmes will turn 37 in March and is more of a defensive guy than an offensive one. MLB Trade Rumors seems to think that he could play his way onto the Royals roster (over Christian Colon) if he has a good spring. I think Barmes should just retire.
He has not hit better than .245 since hitting .290 with Colorado way back in 2008. In 89 games last year at shortstop for San Diego, he committed eight errors and hit .232.
In 2014 with the Pirates, Barmes played all four infield positions (48 games total) and only committed two errors (both at shortstop in 27 games).
Pitchers and catchers begin their first official workout today.
*In former Royals news, reliever Louis Coleman signed with the LA Dodgers for one year. It is a big league contract worth $750,000.