Christian Colon was designated for assignment by the Royals on Wednesday, which may or may not mean he’s finished with the organization considering the various ways that can play out.
But the move nevertheless seems to be a clarifying statement about how the Royals view the future of Colon, who has a fascinatingly contrasting legacy with a team that once thought enough of his potential to make him the No. 4 overall pick in the 2010 draft.
That’s the sort of pick you use on an anticipated future pillar, and seven years later it’s become increasingly improbable that Colon ever will blossom into that role.
Or be given a chance to, depending on how you view it.
He entered the season hitting .268 in 329 career plate appearances with one home run and 16 doubles, and he had only 17 at-bats this season with a mere three singles.
So this is a rough concession for all concerned to see it play out this way.
Just don’t call it a failure.
Because Colon will be forever entwined with the magic of 2014 and 2015 for the Royals — and some poignant moments since.
For starters, he’ll be an enduring symbol of teams that were greater than the sum of their parts, with every last player making a difference.
It was Colon, after all, who had an RBI single and scored the winning run in The Game That Changed Everything: the Royals’ impossible comeback in the 2014 American League Wild Card game against Oakland that paved the way to the first World Series run in 29 years.
“I feel like ever since that day,” Colon later said, “it feels like there’s something different in the air.”
And it was Colon, of course, who smacked in the go-ahead run in extra innings in the clinching Game 5 of the 2015 World Series against the New York Mets.
That came despite the fact that Colon hadn’t batted in nearly a month before his hit opened the floodgates for a 7-2 victory in 12 innings.
Mindful of how long Colon had gone between at-bats, teammate Alcides Escobar that night said, “That was the best at-bat of the World Series right there.”
As he stood at first base, Colon was thrilled to look toward his teammates in the third-base dugout in New York.
“I tried to find everybody; I was so pumped up,” he said. “Just an incredible feeling that I’ll never forget.”
At spring training in 2016, Colon was among many Royals who offered their reflections on the feeling of sharing the triumphant moment together.
“There’s things that can’t be erased,” he said. “And this team will forever be linked.”
With Colon as part of the DNA.
Maybe somebody else would have come through in those situations.
But … it was Colon who did.
He dearly hoped those moments would be part of a foundation he could plant here, but he never could secure the open job at second base.
Colon, who grew up in California, bought a house in the area in 2016 and hoped never to leave.
That sentiment in itself and the fact that he was here made for another significant milestone moment for Colon with the Royals, something that lent a different sort of comfort to the area and embodied what the franchise has come to mean to its faithful.
When Yordano Ventura died on Jan. 22, Colon, Danny Duffy and Ian Kennedy went to Kauffman Stadium to both mourn with and console fans even amid their own profound grief.
So even if his career to date hasn’t worked out as anyone would have liked, regardless of where Colon goes from here, this is as good a time as any to pause and consider the indelible things he’s done instead of just dwelling on what he hasn’t.