While early projections show Jason Vargas likely sliding into the Royals’ No. 2 rotation slot vacated by departing free agent Ervin Santana, club officials warn against reading too much into that positioning.
“I’m not as concerned on the evaluation of whether he’s a one or a two or three,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. “We just need innings out of our rotation. We need guys who are going to compete, give us innings and throw strikes.”
Vargas projects at No. 2 in part because, as a finesse left-hander, he offers a contrast from No. 1 starter James Shields and serves as a bridge between two right-handers, Shields and Jeremy Guthrie.
“If we’re talking stuff,” one club official said, “Danny Duffy or (Yordano) Ventura could be our No. 2. Or even Luke Hochevar, if we put him back in the rotation. But Vargas is a good fit between Shields and Guthrie.”Options game
Want to make some early projections on next year’s roster? Here’s an updated list of 12 players on the Royals’ 40-man roster who are out of options, which means they can’t be sent to the minors without clearing waivers:
Utilityman Emilio Bonifacio, reliever Francisley Bueno, infielder Pedro Ciriaco, reliever Maikel Cleto, outfielder Jarrod Dyson, starter Jeremy Guthrie, catcher Brett Hayes, reliever Luke Hochevar, outfielder David Lough, outfielder Justin Maxwell, swingman Everett Teaford and starter Jason Vargas.
Starter James Shields, designated hitter Billy Butler and outfielder Alex Gordon have options remaining but also possess sufficient service time to refuse the assignment and be paid the full value of their contract.