CHICAGO — The Royals continued their early August shakeup Monday afternoon by allowing left-handed reliever José Mijares to depart to San Francisco in a waiver claim for no compensation beyond the $20,000 fee.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
“There was a window of opportunity to make deals prior to the (July 31 non-waiver) trade deadline,” general manager Dayton Moore said, “and it didn’t happen. When it didn’t occur, we made a decision to just go forward.”
Mijares, 27, exits at 2-2 with 11 holds and a 2.56 ERA in 51 games. The Royals replaced him by recalling lefty Francisley Bueno from Class AAA Omaha in time for Monday’s series opener against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
The decision to jettison Mijares came one day after the Royals designated veteran infielder Yuniesky Betancourt for assignment and two days after they fired first-base coach Doug Sisson.
All three moves appear part of a unified effort by the club to refocus its on-field efforts, although manager Ned Yost chose not to elaborate further on his Sunday statements regarding a need to reverse the organization’s “losing culture.”
Even so, multiple players confirmed a brief closed-door meeting Monday before batting practice centered on the need to place team success over individual achievement.
Club officials say the decision on Mijares, like that on Betancourt, resulted primarily from priorities attached to a long-term organizational viewpoint.
Betancourt will be a free agent after the season and, since he is unlikely to generate compensation if he signs elsewhere, became expendable after failing to attract interest through a trade before the July 31 non-waiver deadline.
The Royals also tried to trade Mijares, although he won’t be eligible for free agency until after 2014. He is only owed roughly $310,000 for the remainder of this season but, club officials believe, could command $2.5 million next season through arbitration.
That was deemed too expensive when weighed against in-house alternatives.
“Mijares wasn’t going to be part of the long-term plan here,” Yost said. “Bueno has been throwing the ball real well, and he is more of an option as a long-term guy. We wanted to get him up here to look at.”
Bueno, 31, appeared in three games earlier this season over two brief previous big-league tours. A Cuban defector, he was 1-4 in 35 games at Omaha but had a 2.75 ERA with 54 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings.
Mijares, despite his success, attracted little interest when placed on waivers – even though he appears a low-cost rental for any contender seeking a lefty specialist for its bullpen.
The Giants’ winning claim means every American League club, and most National League clubs, passed on the opportunity to acquire him for the cost of his contract and the $20,000 fee.
“If we could have (traded him),” Moore said, “we would have. We just need to see some other guys. We have multiple people in our organization who think Bueno can be just as effective against left-handers and get right-handers out as well.
“We didn’t know if Mijares had that same capability.”