With signing of Infante, futures of Colon, Giavotella are muddled
Big expectations have surrounded Christian Colon and Johnny Giavotella for a while now, but veteran Omar Infante's presence is blocking their path to the majors -- and the clock is ticking.
Depending on how the dominos fall, Johnny Giavotella could be searching for a position this year -- even in Triple A.
Debby Wong / USA TODAY Sports
By Jeffrey Flanagan
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Last year at this time, the names Johnny Giavotella and Christian Colon were on the tip of the tongues of most Royals fans. The hope then was that one or the other would take the second-base job away from Chris Getz in spring training.
That's not the case this time around.
Getz is long gone, but the Royals' signing of veteran Omar Infante to a four-year deal eliminates any competition at second base for years to come.
And that signing instantly changes the immediate futures of Giavotella and Colon, both of whom are likely to languish at the Triple-A level unless something unforeseen happens this March.
Colon, a former first-round draft pick, remains in the club's long-term plans. But he isn't likely to make the club out of spring, even as a backup middle infielder because the Royals might not even carry one on their 25-man roster to start the season.
Colon knows his situation.
"Well, I'll do my best to make myself fit somewhere," Colon says. "I was added to the (40-man) roster, so that's something I was looking forward to.
The clock is ticking on Christian Colon, a former first-round pick.
Jake Roth / USA TODAY Sports
"It's all about doing whatever I can to help the team win."
Colon isn't sure what position he'll play at Triple-A Omaha. He played both shortstop and second base there last season, but played almost exclusively at shortstop in winter ball.
Much depends on what the Royals' 25-man roster shapes out to be. If the Royals go without a backup middle infielder -- which seems likely if they carry five outfielders -- they will try to sneak shortstop Pedro Ciriaco, who is out of options, through waivers.
If Ciriaco is claimed, Colon could return to shortstop at Omaha and Giavotella likely would be at second. If Ciriaco isn't claimed, Colon probably gets the second-base job and Giavotella becomes a man searching for a position.
"I haven't really been told where I'll go," Giavotella says. "I'd like to be an everyday second baseman and I think that's where my value is at. But if the team wants me to play other positions, I'm all for it. I'll go wherever they want me to play."
The Royals already have experimented with Giavotella at third base and even in the outfield, which he says he didn't mind.
"I played three years of outfield in high school, so it wasn't unnatural for me," he says. "I thought it was fun. It broke up the monotony."
But Giavotella won't give up his second-base dreams easily, nor does he think he can't cut it in the major leagues, though in 400 big league at-bats he has hit just .240 (.278 on-base) with three homers.
Last year in a brief call-up Giavotella hit just .220 with no homers in 14 games before being sent back to Omaha.
"I was definitely frustrated," he says. "Nobody wants to come up there for a limited number of at-bats and basically be labeled as (someone) who can't play at that level -- it was basically a couple of weeks. But that's part of the business.
"It is an adjustment (hitting in the majors). But I'm confident. I'm a major league caliber second baseman, in my mind. I feel like in the near future with more opportunities I will have more success and be a great second baseman, especially as a hitter."