SURPRISE, Ariz. – The phrase "out of options" carries a certain connotation with it, but at this time of the year, the words can be a ballplayer’s best ally in a roster battle.
An option, in the big-league parlance, means the organization holds the right to send a player on their 40-man roster to the minor leagues and bring him back without fear of risk of losing him to another club. The average player gets three option seasons. When a team has expended all three of those options, a player is subject to the waiver wire, which means he could leave the organization.
During spring training, a player who is out of options is often considered a step ahead over an equally useful player who still has options. Teams do not like to lose talent, even at the margins.
So. How does this apply to the Royals, and the construction of their 2015 Opening Day roster?
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There are eight players on the 40-man roster who are out of options. Those eight are:
1. Louis Coleman
2. Jeremy Guthrie
3. Luke Hochevar
4. Jason Vargas
5. Edison Volquez
6. Erik Kratz
7. Kendrys Morales
8. Jarrod Dyson
Guthrie, Vargas and Volquez make up 60 percent of the starting rotation. Morales was signed on a two-year contract to be the designated hitter. Jarrod Dyson is a lock to make the club as a backup outfielder. And with Hochevar returning from Tommy John surgery, the club can stash him on the disabled list to start the year, if he still needs time to get ready.
So that leaves Coleman and Kratz. Coleman can be considered one of the favorites for the final two spots in the Royals bullpen, if only because of his experience with the club these past few seasons. The lack of options also adds to his case.
As for Kratz, he is competing with Francisco Pena for the backup catcher spot. A veteran like Kratz makes more sense for that role than Pena, a younger player who is still developing. So at a Royals camp where almost every spot on the roster appears set, even the guys without options add to the anti-climax.
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