In November, the Kansas City Royals signed former super prospect Brandon Wood to a minor league contract. At first glance, this signing of the 28-year journeyman seems like an effort by the Royals of just throwing mud on a wall and hoping something sticks. Wood is an infielder that once hit 43 home runs in a minor league season but that was way back in 2005 when he was in the Angels’ organization. Last season he hit 10 home runs in 119 games for the Rockies AAA affiliate with a slash line of .259/.313/.409. Not too impressive. Wood last played in the majors in 2011, when he logged 105 games with the Angels and Pirates. In his career, he only has 751 major league plate appearances, mainly because of a paltry .186/.225/.289 slash. There is very little positive in his statistical history.
So, why did the Royals sign Brandon Wood. Yes, there is probably a little to the mud sticking theory because at 28 years old, he is in his prime. Most likely though, is the fact the Royals have few options to play third in Omaha. To follow that point through to its natural conclusion, the Royals also have few options to play third at the major league level should something unforeseen happen to Mike Moustakas. The only other realistic options in Omaha or Kansas City, if the Moose should go down with an injury, are Irving Falu and the ancient Miguel Tejada. It seems apparent the Royals would like Tejada to serve as the utility infielder for the major league club but it is doubtful they would want to rely on him on an everyday basis over a long period of time, if that would prove necessary. Wood, while now primarily a third base man, has also played shortstop and second in his career. While it is doubtful any team would want to rely on Wood to be productive over the long haul, he could most likely hold third base down for two or three weeks, if necessary.
Brandon Wood’s signing is a cost effective way to fill a hole in Omaha and have someone who could fill in for a few weeks at the major league level. It is unlikely that Wood will rediscover his top prospect status in Omaha this late in his career but there is a slight chance he could put things together enough to become a reserve in the majors. He has pop and he can play more than one position in an emergency. If he is a total flop, the Royals aren’t out much. Don’t expect much here and you won’t be disappointed.