The Kansas City Royals called up long-suffering 2B prospect Johnny Giavotella to fill their middle-infield hole. The move comes the next day after Danny Valencia‘s lack of range allowed a game-winning single to shoot up the middle in Tuesday’s painful 1-0 loss against Tampa Bay. He’s accompanied by reliever Louis Coleman, who had been in Surprise nursing a spring training injury. To make room, GM Dayton Moore optioned relievers Aaron Brooks and Donnie Joseph back to AAA Omaha.
The move leaves the Royals with a 6-man bullpen and without a left-handed reliever. Sigh. The strange roster construction continues. Just watch Rays manager Joe Maddon stack his lineup with lefties against starter Jeremy Guthie, leaving Ned Yost without options to handle them in the late innings.
While the Royals’ brain trust clearly intends to keep Giavotella on the roster only until Omar Infante heals from Monday night’s beaning, Gio once again has a chance to show what he can do in major-league baseball. This might be his last gasp to make an impression. If Johnny Giavotella is ever going to stick on the Royals roster, he needs to hit—plain and simple.
Giavotella has had been shuttling up-and-down between Omaha and Kansas City since the 2011 season. Now almost 27-years-old, Giavotella is looking more like a AAAA player than someone who belongs in the Major Leagues. In his three prior seasons. Giavotella has compiled a ghastly .240/.278/.335 line for a .613 OPS (and a 68 OPS+). Giavotella’s big league struggles stand in stark contrast to his career .305 batting average and fine .818 OPS in the minors. For Johnny Giavotella, the time is NOW.
Johnny Giavotella hasn’t gotten a fair shake in Kansas City. He’s never had more than 189 Plate Appearances in any one season, which was ridiculous negligence when you consider that the Royals were nowhere near contention in 2011 and 2012. Instead, we saw a stead diet of Chris Getz, and the atrocious Yunieski Betancourt, rather than giving Giavotella an opportunity to establish himself. Then, this winter, Dayton Moore filled the hole at second base by signing Omar Infante to a 4-year $30.25 million contract—putting Giavotella’s Royals future in limbo.
You have one last chance Johnny. Here’s to you making the most of it.
UPDATE: Giavotella went 1-3 with a single, a run scored, and an RBI on a well-hit sacrifice fly to deep center in KC’s 7-3 victory Wednesday afternoon.